Target and Walmart are making very different preparations for the holiday season

Walmart, the largest private employer in the US, is reducing its seasonal furlough staff. It said it would hire just 40,000 people in a mix of full-time and part-time jobs, a big drop from the 150,000, mostly full-time, it hired last year to staff its stores and warehouses.
In contrast, Target is hiring up to 100,000 seasonal workers in the U.S., a number that's consistent with last year but still below the roughly 130,000 seasonal workers it hired in 2019 and 2020.
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The big difference in hiring numbers is due to Walmart hiring too many employees over the past year. The company's seasonal shutdown in 2021 weighed on its first-quarter earnings, Reuters quoted Jane Hali, CEO of investment research firm Jane Hali & Associates.
Retire to spend this holiday season
This year's holiday season is expected to be muted, with holiday-related spending expected to rise between 4% and 6% year-on-year from November to January, much slower than the 15.1% increase in 2021, according to Deloitte's holiday retail forecast, as consumers in become more frugal in an inflationary environment with lurking fears of recession.
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Both retailers have been grappling with excess inventory issues that have hurt profitability this year.
Still, Target executives said they were optimistic about the end of the year.
"While we're certainly looking at a cautious environment ahead, one thing that seems to be very consistent is a guest and consumer saying they want to celebrate the holiday season," Target Corporation chairman Brian Cornell said on his conference call on the second quarter results in August. "So we certainly expect them to celebrate Halloween this year and be actively hosting trick-or-treating parties with friends and family. We know they're looking forward to Thanksgiving and they'll be looking forward to celebrating the Christmas break."
In September, Target launched a multi-year partnership with famed toymaker FAO Schwarz to prepare for Christmas presents. In the first half of the year, Target reported high single-digit growth in toys, which it called an "encouraging sign" for its fourth-quarter plans.

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