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WAL-MART STORES (WMT)
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Wal Mart Stores : Retail sector making fewer seasonal hires; Business briefing; Amazon opts to go with the grain; Town rejects development action

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11/10/2017 | 02:44pm CET

As brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to remain relevant in the new world of e-commerce, they're hiring fewer seasonal workers.

That's according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., which shows October hiring in the retail sector fell 8 percent from last year - a result of fewer hiring announcements from companies such as Wal-Mart Stores. The report shows that seasonal retail hiring has fallen each October since 2015.

"The shrinking job gains in retail during the holiday season are indicative of the changing consumer habits and overall transition the industry is experiencing," John Challenger, the firm's CEO, said in the report.

More shoppers are going online, which promotes seasonal jobs in the transportation and warehousing sectors. Jobs in those categories were up about 2 percent in October compared with a year earlier.

Another possible piece of the equation is the greater use of technology and automation. That has eliminated the need for some back-office operations. Still, it's unclear how the presence of tech in physical stores will shake out.

Wal-Mart says it won't be adding seasonal workers this year, relying instead on its existing workforce to boost hours - an approach it used in 2016 as well.

Amazon opts to go with the grain

You may see more of Amazon inside Whole Foods soon: The online retailer, which has already been selling its voice-activated Echos at Whole Foods, will start to sell Kindles, Fire tablets and other Amazon devices at the grocery stores.

The move gives Amazon, which bought Whole Foods this summer, another place where shoppers can try out its gadgets. Amazon recently opened shops inside some Kohl's department stores, and it has opened a dozen bookstores.

The company says that Whole Foods stores in Chicago; Denver; Rochester Hills, Mich.; Davie, Fla.; and Pasadena, Calif., will open Amazon pop-up stores next week. About 100 other stores will also have the devices available for sale.

Town rejects development action

Residents of a small town outside the Grand Canyon's South Rim have rejected a building height increase, but it won't stop developers from pursuing an expanse of retail shops, open space and lodging at the edge of town.

Voters in Tusayan turned down a ballot measure Tuesday to allow buildings up to 65 feet. Of the 131 people who cast ballots, 60 supported the measure and 71 opposed it.

The result was a blow to Stilo Development Group USA, a major landowner that has eyed development in town. Stilo will submit building plans for a property that now houses an RV park, said Andy Jacobs, a company spokesman.

THE BOTTOM LINE

239K That's the number of Americans who filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a rise of a seasonally adjusted 10,000 after having fallen by 5,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, dropped to 231,250, a decline of 1,250 from the previous week. It was the lowest level for the four-week average since it stood at 227,750 on March 31, 1973.

Credit: - From news services

Caption: Amazon says it will start to sell Kindles, Fire tablets and other devices at its Whole Foods grocery stores.

Joseph Pisani/AP

Copyright © 2017 Capital Gazette Newspapers, source Newspapers

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