(Reuters) – Target Corp <TGT.N> said on Thursday it would double its staff for contactless services and hire more seasonal employees for distribution centers this holiday season, as consumers shop more online to avoid crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company, one of the retailers benefiting from the big shift to online shopping during the health crisis, said it expected seasonal hiring to be on par with last year, when it hired more than 130,000 store employees.
Consumers have been increasingly shopping online and either have items delivered to their homes or collect them at a nearby store as they stay indoors.
According to a forecast from Deloitte, e-commerce sales are expected to record a 25% to 35% rise in the 2020 holiday season, traditionally the busiest time of the year.
“We’re building even more flexibility into our seasonal staffing as we enter into, what is sure to be, an unprecedented holiday shopping season,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell told reporters on a briefing call, adding that it would offer additional hours of work, starting with current staff.
During the first half of the year, more than 10 million new customers shopped on Target’s website and demand for same-day fulfillment options quadrupled, the retailer said, leading it to train more staff in areas that are in demand such as ‘drive up and order pickup.’
Distribution centers will send more inventory to stores than usual to make sure in-demand items are well stocked, and to ensure smooth operation the company said it would hire more full-time and seasonal warehouse team members across the country than last year.
Target said it would pay its seasonal staff a starting wage of $15 per hour along with coronavirus health and wellness benefits. Staff at the front of its stores will focus on safety and cleaning, and greeting shoppers.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel)