Will September Sales Slump Temper Holiday Hiring? More Companies Announce Hiring Plans!

Retail sales slumped in September, according to the latest report from the Commerce Department. The question is, does the 0.3 percent decline signal potential difficulties when it comes to all-important holiday sales? “Consumers’ spending power certainly is not being helped by stagnant wages,” said John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “However, consumers should find more money in their pockets heading into the holidays, thanks to job gains and falling gas prices. These factors will definitely help retailers who are also hoping to lure shoppers with lower prices.” Nationwide, retailers are poised to go on a holiday hiring binge. Many are already adding extra workers to their payrolls, and this alone, according to Challenger, should help fuel increased sales over the holidays. “We should not read too much into the September sales slump. It falls between back-to-school shopping and the holiday season. Sales could see a rebound in October, as Americans spend millions on Halloween costumes and decorations. This momentum could carry over into the holidays as shoppers feel more comfortable spending on items they may have held off on in recent years,” said Challenger. What is the outlook for holiday hiring this year? Are hiring plans based more on sales projections, traffic projections, or something else entirely? Will lower gas prices help boost holiday spending?