Oct. 1 - Like many big U.S. retailers, Amazon.com is increasing seasonal hires even though experts forecast modest increases in holiday sales. Fred Katayama reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS**NONE** Amazon.com plans to hire more than 70,000 full-time workers to beef up for the busiest sales season of the year. That's a 40 percent increase over last year. Amazon vice president Dave Clark said, "So far this year, we have converted more than 7,000 temporary employees in the U.S. into full-time, regular roles, and we're looking forward to converting thousands more after this holiday season." Many big U.S. chains are hiring the same or more seasonal workers even though retail experts forecast modest increases in holiday sales this year, ranging anywhere from 2.4 to 4.5 percent. The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is adding 55,000 seasonal workers, a 10 percent increase. And Macy's is boosting seasonal hires by nearly 4 percent. But the government shutdown and the payroll tax hike have economists concerned about consumer spending, and consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas says retailers overall will at best match last year's seasonal hiring levels. Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, especially needs more workers to staff its growing warehouse network as it races to speed up shipments and expand its grocery delivery business. And it just released two high-definition tablets last week that it hopes will rev up holiday sales.