Retail Department Stores: Where the Jobs Are!
So in this uneven economy, will department stores be hiring workers as before?
Absolutely! Kiplinger’s reported that, despite a drop in April and May, the retail sector is still expected to grow 6% this year. It helps that the department store segment is experienced in adapting to shifts in population and demographics. In addition, as their operations expand, enhancing customer service is more and more becoming a part of store policy, which contributes to the need for more workers.
Despite the increase in online selling by retailers, Internet sales have not decreased the need for retail sales people. In fact, the ease and speed of Internet shopping combined with the specialized in-person service of a brick-and-mortar sales staff are a synergistic formula. Department stores have realized this and they are beginning to capitalize on it.
For instance, Target is opening 19 new stores in 2012 including a new downsized format of “City Target” in urban locations. The “City Target” store format will open in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago, among other locations. If these sites prove profitable, Target could possibly be opening hundreds more.
Macy’s has almost 850 stores, including Bloomingdales locations. Over the next year, Macy’s is expected to open five new locations across the country. The company also will open another Bloomingdales and another five Bloomingdale’s Outlets Stores in 2012. Last year, Macy’s reported a 40% increase in sales, and this year, the company projects sales are expected to top $2 billion. The company’s plan, according to a Macy’s spokesperson, is to “fill gaps in local markets and take advantage of new opportunities.”
Nordstrom’s will add three new department stores and around 18 new Nordstrom Rack stores in 2012, and the company is reportedly planning about 15 new Rack stores next year along with three more department stores.
The Sak’s OFF 5th concept is doing well, the company says, and will continue to grow, likely adding five new stores in the next couple of years.
Chainlinks Retail Advisors reports that the recession did not slow down growth for Kohl’s. The chain actually took advantage of market conditions to expand its discount department store concept, adding 40 new stores in 2011. The company is expected to show similar additions this year.
Despite downsizing and struggling with challenging sales numbers, Sears is still hiring and has announced plans for new smaller concept stores. They also hope to increase hiring of veterans by 10% this year (the chain hired 1,636 veterans in 2011).
With overall unemployment still an issue in the U.S., it appears that the department store sector for 2012 will be doing its part to help Americans find jobs.