Retailers report slim hiring for holidays

Published 1:56 am Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Local retailers are busy preparing for next week’s biggest shopping days of the year.

The Alabama Retail Association predicts holiday sales in the state could reach as high as $11.4 billion in taxed sales during November and December.

Managers from all over town said they are receiving tons and tons of shipments to give locals the optimum shopping experience.

However, they aren’t hiring much extra holiday help this season.

Stephanie Kelley, manager of Goody’s said that she hired four people this year.

“I was supposed to hire two people,” she said. “But they were telling me I needed 11 people for Black Friday.”

Kelley said that’s less than she hired before, but that each year depends on the needs.

Kelley said her staff is diligently working to get their shipments out for the holidays.

This year, she said they are trying something different – opening Wednesday from 8 p.m., until midnight.

They will open at noon on Thanksgiving and be open until 1 a.m., and Black Friday open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

At Maurice’s, Kim Messick said they hired a few extra employees for the holidays.

“We’ve had tons of shipments,” she said. “And we’ll be open an extra three hours for Black Friday.”

Frances Spann at Factory Connection said they aren’t hiring for the holidays per se, but they do have a part-time job open.

“We are busy getting ready for next week,” she said. “Our shipments are picking up. One day, I got 27 shipments.”

At Cato, Manager Nicole Julian said that since they are such a small store, they don’t hire holiday help.

“We have had a huge mark down and we are busy putting out new items for next week,” she said.

The ARA said that the state has averaged 3 percent growth each month over the same month last year.

If sales continue along that trajectory, Alabama could reach $11.2 billion in November and December. Add on the projected Amazon sales and the number could hit $11.4 billion, the highest number on record.

This is the first time Amazon will collect sales tax in Alabama.

“We feel optimistic, albeit cautiously optimistic, about 2016 holiday sales,” said Ricky Bromberg, chairman of the Alabama Retail Association. “It’s been a good year, and we’re hoping that continues through the holidays. We are thankful for the customers, new and old, who choose to shop with us.”