Saturday, October 03, 2009

NY Times: Retailers Expect No Growth in Holiday Spending

by Bill McBride on 10/03/2009 01:43:00 PM

From the NY Times: Retailers Expect Flat Christmas Sales This Year

[A] lot of people are thinking about it, and taking surveys to test the mood of the American consumer, and deciding that this Christmas will be as bad as last — which is to say, one of the worst on record.

Retailers are relieved to hear that prediction. Flat sales this holiday season would at least mean that things had stopped getting worse ... several reports published in the last few days, including surveys by Nielsen and Deloitte, forecast no change in holiday sales from last year to this year.
And that suggests that seasonal retail hiring will be weak too. Here is a repeat of a graph from a post a couple weeks ago: Seasonal Retail Hiring

Typically retail companies start hiring for the holiday season in October, and really increase hiring in November. This graph shows the historical net retail jobs added for October, November and December by year.

Seasonal Retail Hiring Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This really shows the collapse in retail hiring in 2008. This also shows how the season has changed over time - back in the '80s, retailers hired mostly in December. Now the peak month is November, and many retailers start hiring seasonal workers in October.

Given the expectation of no growth in holiday spending, retailers will probably be very cautious hiring again this year.

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