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Kohl's to Hire for Holiday Season

Zacks Equity Research

Specialty departmental store Kohl’s Corporation (KSS) plans to hire more than 50,000 associates in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. The recruitment of the additional personnel will help it to provide better customer service and support seasonal business in stores and on Kohls.com.

Kohl’s expects to hire an average of 40 associates in each of its 1,158 stores in 49 states, approximately 6,400 seasonal positions at its distribution centers and approximately 350 seasonal credit operations positions across the country. This shows the company’s efforts to provide the best shopping experience to its customers, which in turn will boost sales.

Like Kohl’s, appliance and electronics retailer hhgregg Inc. (HGG) has also announced to hire 500 qualified home appliance and electronics sales associates to handle the rush during the busiest shopping season for its 228 stores. hhgregg will be offering permanent full-time and part-time sales positions for its stores in the Midwest, South, Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions.

Normally, retailers derive majority of their sales during the back-to-school (August- September) and holiday seasons (November - December) and Kohl’s is no exception. However, in fiscal 2012, the company reported weaker-than-expected holiday sales, which significantly impacted its earnings. Kohl’s holiday season sales were impacted by unfavorable weather conditions and lower consumer confidence, which forced it to give higher discounts.

We believe that this time Kohl’s is gearing up for the upcoming holiday season well in advance. We are encouraged by the company’s strong brand portfolio and its expansion in the apparels, fashion jewelry/beauty and cosmetic categories. Kohl’s has been working on improving its merchandising and execution strategies and aims to increase assortments and expand the number of private and exclusive brands. The company has also made aggressive investments to upgrade its e-commerce business, which is quite encouraging.

However, the U.S and some international markets have been witnessing a challenging retail/sales environment as consumers are more conscious about their spending habits and avoid any unnecessary expenses.

Kohl’s holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Other retail stocks, which have been performing well include Haverty Furniture Cos. Inc. (HVT) and Kirkland’s Inc (KIRK), both of them hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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