Retail Pulse: Target Prepares For Holiday Orders; McDonald’s To Acquire Apprente

Brick-and-mortar retailers are doubling down on digital as they look to staff their stores for the busy holiday shopping season. Target, for instance, plans to bring on over 130,000 seasonal team members, with “a twofold increase in the number of roles focused on fulfilling digital orders from its stores.”

The company notes that roughly 125,000 team members will fill different types of roles at over 1,800 brick-and-mortar locations. They will be tasked with stocking shelves “with the hottest toys, decorations and holiday meal essentials” as well as helping customers select gifts. They will also fulfill orders placed through the web. Target added that roughly 8,000 roles will be in fulfillment and distribution centers. Those staffers will focus on freight processing and the fulfillment of orders placed online and via the mobile app.

Melissa Kremer, chief human resources officer at Target, said in the announcement, “It’s critical we build the right team across our stores and supply chain to deliver an exceptional holiday experience for our guests during the busiest time of the year. From engaging our current team members who are interested in extra hours, to adding more than 130,000 seasonal hires, we continue to invest in our team because they make it easier and more joyful to shop at Target, especially during the holidays.”

The retailer noted that all seasonal hires will have a minimum hourly starting wage of $13 an hour. Target is also offering an array of benefits to the seasonal workers, which all hourly team members receive. Those perks include discounts in-store and online as well as the opportunity to earn holiday pay on Christmas and Thanksgiving. The retailer also says it offers flexible schedules along with hands-on training to “ensure new hires are making a guest impact from day one and building skills to grow professionally.”

In 2018, the retailer hired 120,000 seasonal team members at its stores as well as 7,500 team members at its distribution and fulfillment centers. But it noted that “in total, more than 40 percent of those seasonal hires remained with Target following the holiday season.”

Separately, Kohl’s will reportedly hire as many as 50 seasonal workers in 130 stores to grow its pilot for digital ordering. Associates will support ship-from-store orders, in-store pickup and more.

From Kohl’s to Target, brick-and-mortar retailers are aiming to prepare their stores for the holiday rush with the help of seasonal workers.

In Other Brick-and-Mortar News

McDonald’s Corporation announced an agreement to acquire conversational tech company Apprente to grow its Bay Area presence and integrate teams with advanced technology skills into its business. The quick-service restaurant (QSR) company said in an announcement that the arrangement is another bold step in advancing employee- as well as customer-facing innovations while strengthening its technological capabilities.

President and CEO Steve Easterbrook said in the announcement, “Building our technology infrastructure and digital capabilities are fundamental to our Velocity Growth Plan and enable us to meet rising expectations from our customers, while making it simpler and even more enjoyable for crew members to serve guests. Apprente’s gifted team, and the technology they have developed, will form McD Tech Labs, a new group integrated in our global technology team that will take our culture of innovation one step further.”

On another note, Walmart plans to grow the reach of Delivery Unlimited to 1,400 stores later this autumn with the expansion of its Grocery Delivery membership option for customers. The offering lets shoppers pay a yearly or monthly fee to receive unlimited Walmart Grocery Delivery orders. Customers can also choose to pay a per-delivery fee without a membership.

Tom Ward, senior vice president of digital operations for Walmart U.S., said in an announcement, “We’ve been investing in our online grocery business by quickly expanding our Grocery Pickup and Delivery services. Delivery Unlimited is the next step in that journey. By pairing our size and scale and these services, we’re making Walmart the easiest place to shop. Combine that with the value we can provide, [and] our customers can’t lose.”

In other news, GameStop said on an earnings call that it will close somewhere in the range of 180 to 200 stores in a bid to expand its profitability, which has been dwindling in the digital age as customers buy fewer physical copies of games. CFO Jim Bell said about the dip, “While we experienced sales declines across a number of our categories during the quarter, these trends are consistent with what we have historically observed toward the end of a hardware cycle.”

To keep tabs on the latest retail trends, check next week’s Retail Pulse.

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