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Kohl's said Wednesday that it would start hiring seasonal workers for the back-to-school, fall and holiday shopping months this year earlier than it's ever done before.
The aggressive push shows the company hopes to grab top talent before it's too late. The holiday calendar meanwhile seems to creep earlier and earlier every year now.
The Wisconsin-based department store chain has already opened up the application process for positions at more than 300 of its 1,100 stores across the U.S. Additional hiring opportunities will come later in the year, Kohl's said, with roles available in stores and at its distribution and e-commerce fulfillment centers.
"We are hiring seasonal associates earlier than ever to ensure our teams are fully staffed, trained and ready to support peak shopping seasons," Ryan Festerling, executive vice president of human resources at Kohl's, said in a statement.
The announcement comes as major retailers — Walmart, Target, Macy's, etc. — are competing in a tighter labor market to obtain the best talent in the industry. Companies consistently name "finding employees" as a top challenge. Earlier this month, the Labor Department said the U.S. unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent.
In 2017 and for the first time ever, Kohl's didn't disclose its number of seasonal hires, bucking a trend followed by many of its peers. In 2015 and 2016, the company had said it hired about 70,000 workers each year ahead of the fall and winter months. It hasn't yet provided a number of hires for 2018.
"We've listened to our current associates and will once again offer them the opportunity to increase their hours first, and we will add new seasonal workers to meet the unique staffing needs of each store," Festerling said about the plans for this holiday season.
Kohl's also said it will offer its seasonal workers "competitive wages," a 15 percent discount on purchases, and special "associate shop" days for other savings.
Kohl's shares climbed a little more than 1 percent Wednesday morning to trade around $75.15 apiece, having risen more than 95 percent over the past year. The retailer has a market capitalization of roughly $12.6 billion.
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