Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Expect more promos, less help this holiday

November 7, 2008

The financial crisis of the past two months has rocked retailers, and many are now planning to hire fewer seasonal workers and roll out promotions earlier than planned to try to salvage holiday sales, according to a recent survey by the Hay Group.
 
The human resources consulting firm conducted an informal survey in September with 20 of the top American retailers, including Best Buy, JC Penney, Costco, and Macy’s to get a glimpse into their plans for the holiday season.

The group then ran the survey again this month to find out how those plans may have changed given the recent financial crisis. Here is what the they found: 
 
Holiday Sales  

  • In September, 60% of participants were planning on an increase in sales  
  • In November, 38% are expecting a decrease of 5-15% and 29% are expecting the same level of sales

Store Promotions 
 

  • In September, 45% indicated they would run the most store promotions on Black Friday, 45% indicated they would run consistent promotions from mid-December to January, and 13% indicated they would run the most after Christmas.  
  • In November, 33% indicated they’d run the most store promotions on Black Friday, and 57% indicated they’d run consistent promotions from now until New Year’s   

Staffing 

  • In September, 75% were planning to hire the same number of seasonal workers 
  • In November, 53% are planning to hire the same number of seasonal workers, and 26% are planning to hire 5-15% fewer workers.    

Seasonal Staffing Incentives  

  • In September, 76% of participants indicated they will offer a discount for seasonal workers  
  • In November, only 56% of participants indicated they will offer discounts to seasonal workers 

 Additional Findings from November Survey 

  • 50% of participants will run promotions earlier this year than last year 
  • 43% are running more promotions/deeper discounts in response to the economy  

(Photo: Reuters)

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