- Kroger aims to hire an additional 10,000 temporary workers across its family of stores this holiday season, according to a news release. The workers will fill roles in customer service, e-commerce, operations and pharmacy departments.
- Earlier this year, Kroger hired an additional 11,000 permanent workers, including 2,000 management positions. As part of its Restock plan, the retailer says its investing $500 million in wages, training and development.
- "Holidays are an exciting time for Kroger because food is at the center of every celebration,” Lanell Ohlinger, Kroger's vice president of talent development, said in a statement. "Whether a customer is looking for ingredients or ideas, our friendly and caring associates help more than nine million customers every day feel uplifted."
Kroger will have a lot of competition for seasonal workers this year. According to job firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, major companies are planning to hire 704,000 employees during this year’s holiday push. That’s the highest number the firm has reported since it began tracking holiday openings in 2012.
Target is one of the most ambitious competitors here, with plans to bring in an additional 120,000 workers — 20% more than last year. Many of these are e-commerce fulfillment positions, with the retailer offering free same-day home delivery and pickup from hundreds of stores. In all, Target plans to double the number of employees filling online orders in stores and distribution centers this year.
At a media event in New York yesterday, Target CEO Brian Cornell said the company is optimistic it will get all of its holiday openings filled. More than 100,000 applications have come in so far, he said.
But other companies aren’t so optimistic about their prospects at a time when unemployment is at a near-record low. Walmart has curbed its holiday hiring for the third year in a row, opting instead to offer more hours to existing employees. Meanwhile, Amazon has reduced its seasonal hiring by 16.7% this year over last year, its first drop in six years. Like Walmart, the e-tailer and Whole Foods owner says it wants to focus more on its existing full-time employees to meet increased demand.
Recently, Amazon made waves when it raised its starting pay to $15 an hour. Target and Walmart have also raised wages, collectively putting significant pressure on other retailers to respond.
Kroger no doubt understands what it’s up against and will respond accordingly. The bigger challenge will be finding and retaining high-quality workers over the long run. As the company continues investing in stores and the need to build out its e-commerce infrastructure increases, it’ll face an uphill battle to not only attract new employees but keep existing ones loyal, as well.