Analysts Expect Decent Sept Retail Sales As Chains Reveal Stronger Holiday Hiring Plans

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By Angelo Young | October 2, 2012 8:05 PM EST

Market analysts are signaling expectations for a decent if not spectacular monthly same-store sales report later this week as Macy's Inc. (NYSE:M) disclosed plans to hire more seasonal workers for the all-important American year-end shopping spree than last year.

“Expect a solid September driven by strength in the first half of the month,” said Roxanne Meyer of UBS Securities in a note on Monday.  

Nomura Equity Research also predicts September, which is a harbinger for the last three months of the year, to be reasonably strong for retail.

“Following a strong August, trends in general seem slightly less robust in September, but nothing to worry about as we think about the state of the consumer headed into holiday,” Nomura said in a client note.

Some of the nation’s largest retail chains reported better-than-expected same-store sales last month. For example, San Francisco-based clothing chain The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) reported 9 percent growth from last year and Macy’s registered 5.5 percent over August 2011. The same-store sales figure is a good measure of retail market performance because it excludes stores open less than a year that typically outperform established outlets thanks to the novelty factor.

Research firm ShopperTrak predicted that U.S. retail sales should rise 3.3 percent this holiday season, according to Reuters, which also said retail consulting firm Kurt Salmon expects a 4.2 percent increase in sales.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati-based Macy’s announced on Monday it is hiring 80,000 seasonal employees this year, up from last year, when it hired 78,000.

So far the following retail companies have given their seasonal hiring figures:

Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS) of Menomonee Falls, Wi., says it’s hiring 58,400 seasonal employees compared to about 10 percent less than in 2011. Kohl’s also opened a dozen new stories in 10 states last week, creating about 1,500 jobs and upping the number of its showrooms to 1,146.

Toys R Us Ltd. said it’s hiring 45,000 holiday workers compared to 40,000 last year.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) of Bentonville, Ark., says it’s hiring about the same number as last year – 50,000 – but that it is also upping the number of available hours for all of its employees.

Plano, Tx.-based J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) said it will hire about 40,000 workers to cover the busy season, up from 35,000 last year.

Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) of Richfield, Minn., says it will hire about 14,000 workers, slightly fewer than last year and nearly half what it hired in 2010.

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