Target plans to hire 100,000 workers for the 2017 holidays, up 40% from last year

Key Points
  • Target is one of the first retailers to announce its hiring plans for the 2017 holiday shopping season.
  • Target's ambitious plans hint that hiring will be healthy across the industry, with retail sales expected to grow.
  • Target will begin hiring seasonal staff on Oct. 13.
Target employees at the checkout registers at a Target store in Torrance, California.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Target is investing big to win the 2017 holiday shopping season.

The big-box retailer announced Wednesday it will hire about 100,000 seasonal workers this year, a gain of more than 40 percent from last year's 70,000.

Target also said it will add 4,500 jobs at its distribution centers, in anticipation of more online orders.

"Target has made significant investments in our business throughout 2017, and our commitment to hire 100,000 team members for the holidays will make shopping at Target even easier and more fun during one of the busiest times of the year," Target's chief store officer, Janna Potts, said in a statement.

"As always, we will provide our seasonal team members with meaningful opportunities to build and develop skills, and offer great benefits, including a variety of schedules and team member discounts," Potts added.

The seasonal hiring begins Oct. 13. Benefits include a 10 percent discount on Target purchases and a 20 percent discount for certain fruits and vegetables and athletic apparel merchandise.

This year, Target is one of the first companies to announce its hiring agenda for the busy shopping season. Its ambitious plans hint that hiring will be healthy across the industry, with other retailers as eager to win sales.

"The holiday season has been creeping up as retailers want to get a competitive edge," Consumer Growth Partners President Craig Johnson said in a recent interview. "Remember, everyone has a budget for the holidays, but retailers are trying to ... expand those budgets a little bit."

When sales go up, for example, a company can bring more seasonal staff in, Johnson said.

"Seasonal hiring is an indication of where the market is headed," he said. "If they're hiring more people, this is good news. Retailers that are hiring more people are doing press releases. ... Conversely, if you're not hiring a lot of people, you're not doing a press release."

Target has more than 1,800 U.S. stores., and for the past few years it has kept seasonal hiring flat across those locations.

Just last week and in the wake of Amazon beginning to lower prices at Whole Foods stores, Target announced it will slash prices on thousands of goods.

Ahead of the holidays Target is also extending Restock, its next-day home delivery service, to additional markets.

"The second half of the year should be stronger for retail, and it should be OK to hire with that attitude," Johnson told CNBC. "Now we're watching the whole industry."

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