After last year's holiday hiring frenzy, retailers are showing more restraint in ramping up their staff for the crucial holiday shopping season.
After a surge in overall holiday hiring last year to a 12-year high, shaky consumer confidence and increased retail efficiency and online shopping may prevent similar gains again, according to a forecast from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Retailers are likely to at best match the level of holiday hiring that occurred last year, the firm added.
"Whether it is related to increased online shopping or the shakiness in consumer confidence, the expectation that there will be fewer people in the stores could prompt some retailers to reduce the number of extra people they will need on the sales floor," said John A. Challenger, the executive outplacement firm's chief executive officer, in a release.
Here are the latest hiring plans from retailers:
Amazon: The online retailer will hire more than 70,000 seasonal workers this season, an increase of 40 percent over last year. Amazon plans to convert thousands of these positions into full-time roles after the holiday season ends.
Macy's: At its Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers, the department store operator plans to add 83,000 holiday positions. This represents a 3.8 percent increase over last year's plans to hire about 80,000. The company also singled out the growth in recent years of its centers that fulfill online orders. About 6,600 of the total seasonal positions will be based at the four online fulfillment centers. Another 1,200 seasonal positions will be assigned to work in the fulfillment areas of the Macy's stores that are equipped to ship orders directly to customers.
Walmart: The discount giant announced it's creating two centers dedicated to filling online orders, including one that will be the largest ever. The smaller one will employ 275 full-time positions, while the bigger one, set to open next year, will employ more than 350 full-time personnel. Last week, the discount giant said it would hire 55,000 seasonal associates, about 10 percent more than it announced last year, said Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg. It also plans to transition more than 35,000 associates to part time from temporary and another 35,000 associates from part time to full time.
GameStop: As the video game retailer prepares for the coming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launches, it plans to hire about 17,000 seasonal employees. This is roughly in line with the previous year's hires. Through December, the company plans to add in-store associates, consumer electronics technicians for its refurbishment operations center and warehouse personnel in its two distribution centers.
Jo-Ann: The privately held fabric and craft specialty retailer will add more than 3,000 seasonal workers. This marks the third straight year the company has asked more than 3,000 employees to join its staff for the holidays.
J.C. Penney: The struggling retailer said it will hire about 35,000 temporary workers as it prepares for the holiday rush, roughly in line with 2011's hiring levels, before the company did away with most coupons and sales. Last year, J.C. Penney did not disclose hiring plans when ousted CEO Ron Johnson was at the helm and the retailer decided to forgo its typical holiday sales and instead hold sales only on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. During that holiday quarter, the company's same-store sales plummeted 31.7 percent. Since then, frequent sales have returned. During J.C. Penney's most recent quarter, CEO Mike Ullman said its top priority "has been to improve traffic and purchase conversion by reconnecting with our customer who frankly had lost faith in us" and that "bringing back promotions was a critical first step."
Target: In addition to offering year-round employees as much as 5 to 10 percent more hours for the holiday season, the company plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers, down from 88,000 last year. These represent around a 20 percent decrease in seasonal workers as Target configures its holiday plans to meet the needs of the ebbs and flows of the holiday season.
Kohl's: The company plans to decrease the number of seasonal workers it hires per store to 40 associates from 41 and increase the number of positions at distribution centers to 6,400 and credit operations to 350. Overall, Kohl's anticipates hiring about 53,000 associates. This is slightly higher than last year's plans to add more than 52,700 holiday employees and a jump from 2011's forecast of more than 40,000 seasonal workers.
Toys R Us: The toy retailer said it plans to add 45,000 employees to staff its stores and distribution centers. This is roughly on par with its hiring plans last year. Hiring for distribution positions began in July while in-store hiring began last week.
EBay: To meet the holiday order rush, the online retailer announced 800 job openings at its Eau Claire, Wis., fulfillment center and another 2,000 jobs at its Louisville, Ky., center. They include seasonal and permanent positions.
—By CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her on Twitter @KatieLittle.