DICK’S Sporting’s (DKS) Holiday Hiring Plan Shows Promise

DICK’S Sporting Goods Inc. DKS has begun early to make a difference this holiday season, with the announcement of its fourth annual “National Signing Day” to be held on Sep 15, 2021. The company expects a bang on the holiday season in 2021. Consequently, it has set out plans to hire the largest number of associates in the company’s history this year. It plans to hire 10,000 seasonal workers during the event, which will mark the highest in its history. The hiring will be 1,000 more than 9,000 associates hired during the last year’s event, whereas, it hired up to 8,000 seasonal employees in 2019.

With the additional hiring, the company estimates to meet the requirement of extra staffing and services at stores and distribution centers to boost the customer experience. The incremental staff is likely to be utilized for filling positions for fulfillment services like curbside contactless pickup and ship-from-store capabilities to ensure customer and employee safety through a safe contactless shopping experience. The hires will also fill positions for staffing required inside and outside the stores throughout the holiday season.

The company expects to hire up to 250 associates to cater to the seasonal staffing needs at all five distribution centers across the nation.

The seasonal hires will not only receive attractive pay and an optional DailyPay but also gain from other pre-requisites like up to 25% discount on store merchandise. The hires will also get the opportunity to gain experience by working with the best sports and outdoor brands.

Holiday Rush Triggers Seasonal Hiring

The holiday season is a crucial time for retailers as it accounts for a sizeable chunk of yearly revenues and profits. Retailers try to attract customers with early-hour store openings, huge discounts and promotional strategies. However, uncertainty related to the outbreak of COVID-19 variants in some regions and the ongoing supply-chain issues might affect this year’s holiday bash.

Retailers are looking to have an edge this year through early planning and filling gaps in associates required both at stores and distribution centers. Apart from DICK’S Sporting, several retailers are upping their games for the holiday season through seasonal recruits that will improve customer shopping experiences. Retailers are increasingly focused on strengthening supply chains to avoid any disruptions due to the prevalent issues at ports.

We note that supermarket giant Walmart WMT unveiled plans to deploy 20,000 workers at more than 250 Walmart and Sam’s Club distribution centers, fulfillment centers, and transportation offices earlier this month. The closeout retailer Ollie’s Bargain OLLI announced plans to recruit more than 3,000 associates ahead of the holiday shopping season. Department store retailer Kohl’s Corp. KSS revealed that it is expecting to recruit 90,000 seasonal associates to cater to the robust demand at stores and support fulfillment requirements at its distribution centers and e-commerce fulfillment centers.

Holiday Season Trends in 2021

Supply-chain and logistics challenges as well as the increase in freight rates are likely to be prevalent ahead of the holiday season, resulting in inventory shortages in time for holiday offers. This is a major concern for most retailers. According to analysts, consumers are likely to witness lesser discounts, longer shipping days and limited inventory at stores, driven by the supply-chain headwinds and labor shortages during the December 2021 holiday season. Early stocking of gift items, ahead of the peak holiday offers, is another trend likely to be prevalent among consumers this year due to the uncertainties of COVID-19 outbreaks in some parts of the world.

However, again this year, analysts expect holiday shopping to be overshadowed by robust online buying trends, which caught pace during the 2020 pandemic-driven environment. The pandemic led digital platforms to become a one-stop destination for many during the last year’s holiday bash. Analysts expect these trends to continue in 2021.

Some firms recently advocated considerably higher year-over-year spending by consumers this holiday season. Per a report by CNBC, Bain & Company estimates retail sales during November and December 2021 to increase 7% year over year to $800 billion. A Deloitte report predicts holiday retail sales to increase 7-9%, suggesting growth from a 5.8% rise reported in 2020.

The Mastercard SpendingPulse report suggests retail sales during the 2021 holiday season will rise 7.4% from the prior-year period and 11.1% from the 2019 holiday period. The robust trends during the holiday season are likely to be supported by the rebound in in-store shopping and strong consumer demand.

Wrapping Up

Coming back to DICK’S Sporting, the seasonal hiring plans reflect its focus on enhancing the customer experience for the holiday season. The company looks poised to gain from continued strong customer demand across all categories and enhanced omni-channel capabilities. As part of its long-term plan, the company intends to make significant investments in e-commerce, technology, store payroll, Team Sports and private brands.

Overall, shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have rallied 37% in the past three months against the industry’s decline of 13.5%.

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You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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