Macy's to cut back on holiday hiring

NEW YORK - Ailing Macy's (M) is pulling back on hiring for the holidays.

The retailer said Friday that overall hiring for the end-of-year period will fall nearly 4 percent, although the company is increasing the number of temporary workers it's hiring for distribution and warehouses for the holiday season as it chases fast growing e-commerce sales 

Macy's says it will be hiring 18,000 workers to fulfill online orders and other tasks at warehouses devoted to e-commerce operations. That's an increase of 3,000 from a year ago. Overall, Macy's temporary hiring is expected at 80,000, down from 83,000 a year ago.

The overall decline contrasts with rival Target Corp. (TGT), which announced earlier this week that it was hiring 100,000 people to work at its stores, an increase of 40 percent from a year ago. The retailer also plans to hire 4,500 workers to help pack and ship online orders at its warehouses.

Many other major retailers including Amazon (AMZN), J.C. Penney (JCP) and Kohl's have not made their holiday plans public yet.

Hiring plans provide hints to a store's expectations for the holiday season, which accounts for 20 percent of all retail sales during the year, according to the National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group.

Like all department stores, Macy's has wrestled with weak sales as customers go online and also increasingly spend money on things other than clothing. It's facing competition there as well however, as Amazon, digs deeper into fashion. The e-commerce giant held a one-day job fair this summer where it hoped to hire 50,000 workers

In August, Macy's lowered its earnings guidance for the year, although results were somewhat stronger than many analysts expected. Reducing the amount of the help it brings in for the holidays should help Macy's cut costs. The company's stock has fallen roughly 36 percent this year.  

After a week holiday shopping season, a critical time for large retailers, Macy's said in January that it was eliminating 10,000 jobs and moving ahead with plans to close 68 stores. In March, a new CEO succeeded longtime chief executive Terry Lundgren. 

Under its new chief, Jeffrey Gennette, Macy's has sought to enhance its online sales capabilities and improve customer service, recently announcing an expansion of same-day delivery for products bought via its website.