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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

Holiday hiring gets under way at some Toledo-area retail stores

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Lenesa Dunahoo, a supervisor at a Target on Monroe Street, asks job applicant Amanda
Bahlhorn, of Toledo, about her availability during the application process for holiday jobs.
Lenesa Dunahoo, a supervisor at a Target on Monroe Street, asks job applicant Amanda Bahlhorn, of Toledo, about her availability during the application process for holiday jobs.
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With more than 10 weeks to go until Christmas, the Target store on Monroe Street is about a quarter of the way done with its annual holiday hiring routine, which this year calls for a slight increase to 120 temporary employees.

"We're shooting for a few more this year," said Marc Jacobs, store manager. "So far, things are going well with staffing."

But its and other local retailers' plans to add more help this holiday season appear at odds from plans nationwide.

Last year, U.S. retailers hired 692,800 extra workers between October and December. This year, the number of temporary hires is expected to be the same or slightly less than last year because retailers are anticipating smaller sales gains, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement firm.

Stores nationwide are expecting a more subdued holiday season this year than last, although sales still should increase 5 percent to $457 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Holiday sales last year had increased 6.1 percent from 2004 to $435.6 billion, the largest increase since 1999, the federation said.

So far, sales of housewares, athletic apparel, and other holiday gift items are promising at J.C. Penney in Toledo's Westfield Franklin Park, said Jill Glover, assistant store manager.

"Early indications are that we'll probably have a good holiday season," she said.

The pool of seasonal job applicants, meanwhile, seems to be smaller this year than last, Ms. Glover said. The Penney store plans to hire 150 to 160 seasonal employees this year, about the same as last year, she said.

Circuit City in Springfield Township is taking applications for at least 10 seasonal employees this year, about the same as last year, but no one is applying for the openings yet, a spokesman said.

Retail jobs in the Toledo area will pay roughly $6 to $9 an hour this holiday season, depending on experience and other factors.

Some Franklin Park retailers started sending out feelers for employees as early as August and attended a job fair at the University of Toledo, said mall spokesman Sara Young. The mall itself is hiring 15 seasonal employees, a couple of more than last year, as it expands concierge services and adds another gift certificate booth, she said.

Books A Million in the Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg also hopes to hire a couple of more seasonal employees this year, for a total of about five, because the store was busy during the holidays last year, said Rhonda Helwig, assistant general manager.

"Since we were a new store last year, we didn't know what to expect," she said.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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