Raleigh, NC (November 12, 2013) — With six fewer days to shop this year due to a later Thanksgiving, the retail industry is working hard to make it easy for North Carolina’s residents to cross items off their lists. The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) (http.www.ncrma.org) is the voice for retail in North Carolina and the driving force behind the passage of positive legislation that impacts retail operations. It also strives to keep retail profits in the state of North Carolina. As a result, this holiday shopping season can make or break many brick-and-mortar retail stores according to NCRMA President and General Counsel Andy Ellen. “The holiday shopping season can generate as much as 30 percent of annual sales for many retailers,” said Ellen. “Facing a shorter holiday shopping season means retailers are looking for the best ways to engage customers and get them into stores, and this means taking customer service to the highest level possible. They can’t afford to let any unmet shopping needs walk out the door without making the best effort to fulfill them.” As a result, customers can expect more employees to help them choose gifts, with greater deals, free shipping and additional store hours to help with shopping. Retailers are also increasing staff in fulfillment centers, optimizing site to store shipping options, and increasing customer service. Mobile and e-marketing are taking center stage with plenty of bargains for the shopper.
The Retail Forecast:
North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
The Facts about Seasonal Hiring “NCRMA members report some of their best hires come from the seasonal hiring process,” said Andy Ellen, president and general counsel. “It’s a great way for someone to experience what it’s like to work in retail. If they like it, it can be a great foot in the door for full-time employment.”
- Many NCRMA member companies will offer part-time employees full-time employment and give current employees the option of working more hours, reducing the amount of training necessary and keeping knowledgeable staff in front of customers.
- NCRMA member companies are starting to announce holiday hiring plans. Overall, the retail industry nationwide is expected to hire somewhere between 700,000 – 750,000 temporary staff this year, down slightly from last year’s 12-year high of 751,800.
- Belk expects to hire 934 seasonal employees statewide.
- Macy’s expects to hire 83,000 nationally. There are 12 department stores in North Carolina.
- Kohl’s plans to hire 50,000 holiday workers. The company expects to hire an average of 45 temporary employees for each of its 1,100 stores around the nation. Kohl’s has 27 stores in North Carolina.
- Target expects to hire 70,000 seasonal employees nationally. The company has 48 stores in North Carolina.
- Walmart will hire approximately 55,000 seasonal associates nationwide. The company has 142 stores in the state.
- Nationally, the October employment figures released last week indicate the retail industry added 37,600 jobs in October, and 295,000 jobs year-over-year, a 2.4 percent increase over 2012.
The Facts about Retail Sales “Money earned in North Carolina is slipping out of the state as residents increasingly shop online with online-only retailers. These are dollars, specifically sales tax dollars, that could be utilized to lower the overall tax rate or to increase teacher pay in North Carolina,” said Ellen.
- North Carolina is estimated to lose approximately $430 million to online sales each year. While it is owed on all online purchases, consumers often forget to remit the use tax due on their tax returns.
- The 2013 holiday shopping period – from Black Friday to Christmas Day – is only 25 days this year, six shorter than in 2012. Due to this truncated shopping period, industry analysts are forecasting a modest 3.5 – 3.9 percent increase in sales to just over $600 billion.
- North Carolina’s holiday retail sales follow the same pattern as the national level. With the retail industry being the largest private employer in the state, there is a lot riding on the success or failure of this all-important shopping season.
- Industry experts predict online sales will jump 20 percent this year, from $226 billion in 2012 $271 billion in 2013. Half of all shoppers will buy online this year.
- The Adobe Digital Index predicted last week that 2013 will see the highest-ever online spending and that Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday will break records. By the numbers, Adobe’s U.S. online sales predictions: Thanksgiving Day – $1 billion, Black Friday – $1.6 billion, and Cyber Monday – $2.2 billion.
The Facts about Opening on Thanksgiving “With Thanksgiving being the fastest-growing shopping day according to industry analysts, it just makes good business sense for North Carolina’s retailers to open on the holiday when they are competing for a finite amount of spending by the consumer,” said Ellen.
- Twenty to forty percent of the retail industry’s annual sales come directly from November and December sales. Therefore, it’s crucial for North Carolina retailers to be open when their customers are shopping.
- For every sale that is lost, it becomes much more difficult for a retailer to stay in business, serve the community and employ people year round.
- Having stores open on Thanksgiving Day has created conflicting opinions. Yet, no one questions why golf courses, restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and other entertainment venues are open on this holiday and require their employees to work.
“Until everyone closes their doors on Thanksgiving, Amazon, eBay, movie theaters and others, you will see retailers make the decision to be open as well. I encourage everyone to support business in the state and recognize why stores need to be open. And then, let’s all go a step further by shopping in our community to support the economy in North Carolina.”
About the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) is a nonprofit trade association organized in 1902 to improve the business climate for retailers in North Carolina. Over 100 years later, NCRMA remains the voice of the retail industry for North Carolina. NCRMA represents the interests of individual merchants before the General Assembly and serves as a vital link to state government. Its credibility lies in its longevity and commitment to serving the ever-changing needs of its members. The Association’s membership includes more than 25,000 stores from across the state whose business represents 75 percent of North Carolina’s retail sales volume. NCRMA serves both large and small retailers from multi-state chains to local “mom and pops,” and all types of merchants including antique, apparel, art, automotive, book, carpet, department, drug, electronics, floral, furniture, grocery, hardware, jewelry, paint and variety stores. For more information, visit http://www.ncrma.org/.