North Central, WV retailers ramp up hiring for upcoming holiday season

via WV NEWS | by Charles Young SENIOR STAFF WRITER | October 20, 2019

Local shoppers hunt for deals on Black Friday in 2018. Staff file photo


Local retailers are currently hiring seasonal employees ahead of the upcoming holiday shopping season. Staff file photo


CLARKSBURG — Many North Central West Virginia retailers are currently in the process of hiring seasonal help for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

These temporary positions — which often last into the first few months of the year — provide businesses with a reliable and flexible staff during the year’s busiest months for retail sales.

Bridget Lambert, president of the West Virginia Retailers Association, said job seekers throughout the state can expect to find fewer open positions this year than were available last year.

“We do feel that in our state the temporary staff that is hired for seasonal promotions will be about in the middle of where it was last year,” she said. “We are taking into account the fact that different areas have been impacted by the closing of some major retail stores.”

Elder-Beerman, Sears, Macy’s and Kmart have all closed locations around the state over the last year, Lambert said.

“Having said that, a shift has gone on in the retail industry because you have retailers that are now offering same-day pickup or next-day pickup in the store,” she said. “We see those jobs being on the uptick particularly during the holiday season, but they will also be permanent jobs going forward.”

The holiday hiring push typically begins in mid-October, Lambert said.

“Stores gear up for different things in November before we get to Black Friday week and Cyber Monday,” she said. “They’ll usually start the process in September and October, and then the interviewing starts and they have a training period. This is an ongoing process, but they are really (ramping) up right now to be ready.”

Many of those hired will have work into January and February, Lambert said.

“It will last post-holiday season into the new year,” she said. “We have a lot of gift cards (sold during the holidays) and that requires staff to be there in the store to meet the needs of the consumers post-holiday. Returns are another thing that require additional staff — a lot of people like to exchange their items.”

Guy Stewart, executive team lead of the human resources department for the Target location in Bridgeport’s Meadowbrook Mall, said the store is looking to hire more than 100 seasonal employees this year.

“Generally the seasonal term ends in late February or early March,” he said. “We put them all over the store.”

The seasonal help will work across all of the store’s departments, from electronics to apparel and everything in between, Stewart said.

“We also have fulfillment experts,” he said. “What they do is basically shop on the floor for the people who are shopping online. After they get a certain amount orders they go back and pack them up in boxes and ship them out to UPS.”

The store has had a seasonal hiring table set up near its entrance to attract potential applicants, Stewart said.

“We’ve had quite a few walk-ins and we are very pleased with our results,” he said. “It is a really great place to work and I think a lot of people who work here tell their friends and loved ones, so they want to come and be a part of it, too.”

According to estimates from the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion throughout the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, represent an increase of 3.7 percent over the previous five years.

The National Retail Federation expects online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 11 percent and 14 percent to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion, up from $146.5 billion last year.

Holiday sales during 2018 totaled $701.2 billion, an unusually small increase of 2.1 percent over the year before amid a government shutdown, stock market volatility, tariffs and other issues.

Senior Staff Writer Charles Young can be reached at 304-626-1447 or