Retailers try so as to add staff forward of the holiday rush

My Secret Stash in Traverse City, Michigan is sparse ahead of the vacation rush. Owner Karen Hilt is gearing up for a strong shopping season.

Courtesy: My Secret Stach

Karen Hilt owns My Secret Stash in Traverse City, Michigan and sells products by local artists and vendors – and business is booming. Hilt is optimistic about the upcoming Christmas season so she is preparing to open a second location.

But like many small business owners, she stares at a persistent labor shortage and staffing the new store remains a challenge.

A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that nearly half of the owners surveyed faced significant or moderate staffing problems.

“I have six between the two locations, and I would like to have 10 or 12 employees. That would make me a lot happier,” said Hilt.

To fill the gap, she added, “I work almost seven days a week, morning, noon and evening.”

Hilt’s bullish sales outlook for the holidays is confirmed by the National Retail Federation, which anticipates a raging season, with November and December sales expected to grow between 8.5% and 10.5% for total sales of US $ 843.4 billion Dollars to $ 859 billion. The forecast beats last year’s numbers and would mark a new all-time high, even if businesses across the country suffer a triple blow of labor shortages, supply chain problems and inflation.

“If retailers can keep the merchandise on their shelves and shippers get the merchandise home by Christmas, it will really be a great year for vacation spending,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at NRF, who The HR problem affects not only retailers in Stores and online, but also in the supply chain.

Supply chain disruptions and labor shortages could weigh on the party. According to the NFIB, 48% of small businesses say that supply chain disruptions have a significant impact. Of those who rely on Christmas sales for a significant portion of their annual sales, 38% believe that such shortages will impact sales.

“We see a shortage of workers in sales and in the warehouse. This includes the time at which the products arrive, even from the port, to the time at which these products reach a distribution and storage area. They juggle hours, they juggle people, and people work long hours, “said Kleinhenz.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.3 million retail vacancies reached 1.3 million jobs in August, and Challenger, Gray & Christmas projects 700,000 workers will be hired this season. According to the BLS, the retail sector created 35,000 jobs in October. Amazon, Target and Walmart and others are looking for hundreds of thousands of workers and rising wages, offering bonuses and more to help recruit them.

Baltimore-based Under Armor said it is heading into the holiday season with more teammates than in previous years in its retail stores. The company has hired 1,000 seasonal workers and is looking for 1,000 more employees over the next few months.

UA is crediting all retail employees with a new in-store incentive program (seasonal, full-time, and part-time) that allows for monthly bonuses equal to 8% or more of their take-home salary – in addition to $ 15 per year starting salary , from $ 10 an hour this summer, to past workforce success.

“We’re in one of the most competitive environments we’ve seen in a long time, especially in retail. I think our decision earlier this year to increase that starting wage from $ 10 to $ 15 certainly helped us before the vacation setting we’re in right now, “said Stephanie Pugliese, President of the United States of America.

“The holiday season is always a big peak time for any retailer to make sure we have enough teammates to meet consumer demand. It is truly a long-term investment that we invest in the talent in our business based our plans on investing in those talent. “

My Secret Stash in Traverse City, Michigan is sparse ahead of the vacation rush. Owner Karen Hilt is gearing up for a strong shopping season.

Courtesy: My Secret Stach

Back in Michigan, Hilt said she was not immune to the supply chain hiccups that are spreading through the industry, but as larger retailers face shortages of products, she has positioned herself to be successful by selling local goods like House plants sold. Plant sales really picked up speed during the pandemic as customers back home tried to beautify their surroundings – and their Zoom meetings.

“We are definitely exceeding our forecasts from the years before, and our customers are satisfied – we love that everyone puts this focus on local shopping,” said Hilt. “I haven’t hung many products anywhere on a ship.”

Even so, it pays well above the minimum wage and offers workers additional perks such as free lunch. And most of all, she hopes small changes will help improve the customer experience in the face of staff shortages.

“I have a feeling there are some lemons here and let’s make a lot of lemonade,” said Hilt. “If some people come over before or after the closure and do the inventory, because if we do that when we are open, it is detrimental to our customers who are standing in front of us and taking the time.” to come out and have some fun shopping. They want us to be present for them, so let’s just try to look a little more creative. “

CNBC’s Betsy Spring contributed to this story.

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