Wal-Mart ups holiday staffing; Target, Penney's flat

Retail employees help customers at the checkout registers inside a store in Torrance, California.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will hire 60,000 seasonal employees, an increase of almost 10 percent compared with 2013.

A spokesman told CNBC that "the vast majority" of its positions will be in stores, and about 25 percent of its seasonal hires will stay with the company in a permanent position after the holidays.

Wal-Mart said its current employees will have priority over seasonal hires if they choose to work additional hours during the holidays.

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"We are committed to making sure our customers can find the products they want for Christmas at low prices and can get through the checkout lanes quickly," Gisel Ruiz, chief operating officer at Walmart U.S., said in a statement. "To accomplish this we will have more registers than ever open during peak shopping hours between Black Friday and Christmas."

Earlier in the day, Target confirmed that it will hire 70,000 seasonal workers this holiday, the same number as in 2013. In an email to CNBC, the company said it will issue a release with more details later Thursday.

A Target spokesman said the additional workers are being hired to help out in the companies' stores. Last year, Target retained 40 percent of its holiday staff, he said.

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Also Thursday, J.C. Penney said it will add 35,000 seasonal workers this year, the same figure as a year ago. The department store will start increasing its staffing in mid- to late-October, a spokeswoman told CNBC over email.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported in its annual holiday hiring prediction on Wednesday that the discounter would again add 70,000 team members to its staff. In 2013, Target cut its holiday hiring by 20 percent due, in part, to an increase in online shopping.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas on Wednesday said retailers could add more than 800,000 seasonal workers this holiday for the first time since 1999.

For more on holiday hiring plans, click here.

—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson