Among the various effects of the pandemic, retail companies have been looking to revamp the holiday shopping experience for customers to provide a safe and smooth festive season. Not only this, The Gap Inc. GPS is one of the retailers that have reinvented hiring methods so that candidates may apply for seasonal jobs, keeping their safety in mind. Interested candidates can apply for suitable positions online in three minutes or less. Further, candidates will be selected virtually to make the hiring process safe and easy.

This year’s holiday shopping season is going to be different, thanks to the pandemic. Given the growing demand for online shopping and omni-channel capabilities, the company plans to hire seasonal associates to support the fulfillment and customer contact centers as well as its store chains, including Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, and Janie and Jack.

Candidates chosen will be deployed to fill positions across the business, including packing, assembling merchandise, preparing orders for shipment, serving customers through its customer contact centers and additional staffing for contactless services. The number of employees, which the company plans to hire for the holiday season, was not revealed. However, some sources stated that it plans to hire 10,000 workers.

Retailers have been witnessing robust online sales trends despite the reopening of store fleet across most regions. The significant rise in e-commerce demand due to the shift in customer preference to online since the onset of the pandemic makes additional hiring necessary for the holiday season. Notably, Gap added 3.5 million to its customer base in the online channel during second-quarter fiscal 2020. This represented more than 165% growth in new online customer acquisition year over year.

Further, the recently rolled out Curbside Pickup and Buy Online, Pickup In Store (“BOPIS”) capabilities in 1,500 plus Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic stores call for additional staff recruits, which are likely to provide convenient and safe shopping avenues for customers during the holiday season.

To meet the changing needs of customers, Gap hired more than 50,000 employees in the first half of the year.

The seasonal hires will not only receive an attractive pay but also gain other pre-requisites like discounts of up to 50% on regular-priced merchandise at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores; 30% at Outlet and Factory stores; and 25% at Athleta stores. Further, the hires will have access to several health and wellness benefits that the company plans to provide.

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 coronavirus pandemic is likely to be a key factor during this year’s holiday bash. With stay-at-home trends still prevalent, retailers might be looking at the majority of sales this holiday season coming from online portals. Per Deloitte, e-commerce sales are estimated to improve 25-35% to reach $182-$196 billion this festive period.

Apart from Gap, several retailers are upping their game for the holiday season through seasonal recruits that will improve customer shopping experiences. We note that supermarket giant Walmart WMT unveiled plans to deploy more than 20,000 seasonal associates at its countrywide e-commerce fulfillment centers to meet the expected surge in online shopping. E-commerce behemoth Amazon AMZN announced plans to recruit as many as 100,000 full- and part-time employees to meet the surge in online demand more efficiently. Also, Michaels Companies MIK announced plans to employ more than 16,000 workers for the upcoming holiday season. This art-and-craft retailer’s hiring plans are likely to solidify its BOPIS team, thereby, ensuring a safe and convenient shopping experience.

Coming back to Gap, the company witnessed strong online demand and leveraged its omni-channel capabilities to fulfill online orders and serve customers amid the pandemic. Consequently, online sales increased 95% growth in the fiscal second quarter. Additionally, it is gaining from the currently booming mask business, which led to rake in $135 million in sales.



We note that shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 46.7% in the past three months compared with the industry’s growth of 28.7%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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