More optimism about the holiday shopping season, Macy's to hire 86,000 seasonal workers

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NEW YORK — Macy's plans to hire about 86,000 seasonal holiday workers nationwide to bolster its stores, call centers and distribution hubs, a 3.6 percent increase from last year.

The department store chain, which also operates Bloomingdale's, said Monday that the growth is being fueled by its expanding online business. This year, about 10,000 of the total 86,000 seasonal workers will be based in eight distribution center across the country. Last year, that figure was 7,000, the company said.

Macy's recently announced new efforts to complete with online rivals. This fall, it's testing a same-day delivery service for products purchased at Macys.com, bloomingdales.com or on its mobile-enabled websites. Macy's will offer same-day delivery to customers in eight major U.S. markets — Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Bloomingdale's will offer same-day delivery to customers in four major markets— Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose.

The pace of hiring at a retailer can serve as an indicator of expectations for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for 20 percent of the industry's annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.

Hiring so far this year suggests rising optimism, and that extends to major shippers like UPS and FedEx.

UPS was caught off guard last year by spiking online orders, particularly from Amazon.com.

After announcing plans to hire 55,000 seasonal workers last year, UPS hired 30,000 more. The company this year said it would be hiring 95,000 people to handle the load. FedEx plans to hire more than 50,000 seasonal workers, 10,000 more than last year.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest private employer, plans to hire 60,000 temporary workers, a nearly 10 percent increase over last year.

Kohl's plans to hire more than 67,000 seasonal workers, a 15 percent increase. It expects to hire an average of 50 associates per store, up 25 percent from a year ago.

Still, some merchants say they'll keep their holiday hiring steady with last year's level.

Target Corp. said it will hire 70,000 seasonal workers, even with 2013.

Shares of Macy's Inc., based in Cincinnati, slipped 41 cents to $59.26.

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