Target will hire fewer seasonal employees for its distribution centers, which suggests the retailer may lean more on its stores to fulfill online orders.

Target Corp. is increasing its temporary workers by more than a third this holiday season compared with previous years.

Target, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, today announced plans to hire 104,500 employees to handle the surge in online and offline demand during the holiday season. That’s up 34.8% from 77,500 seasonal employees last year.

Of those employees 100,000 will work in its 1,816 stores while 4,500 will work in its distribution and e-commerce fulfillment centers. The 4,500 figure for its distribution and fulfillment centers represents a 40% decline from the 7,500 seasonal employees hired to work in those facilities last year.

That shift could signal that Target plans to lean more heavily on its stores to fulfill online orders this holiday season than it did last year. Fulfillment from stores is an area that has been growing fast for the retailer.

Chief operating officer John Mulligan told analysts on Target’s Q2 2017 earnings call last month that Target will roll out ship from store to an additional 350 stores ahead of the holidays, bringing the total number of stores that Target ships from to about 1,400, or roughly 77.1% of its store fleet.


Through the first half of 2017, stores fulfilled more than 40% of Target’s online orders, Mulligan said. Meanwhile, in-store pickup of online orders has grown by 30% year over year through the first six months of the year.

In 2016, Target created a designated area in 325 of its stores for shoppers to pick up online orders. Located at the front of each store, the Order Pickup area featured dedicated employees wearing white shirts as opposed to the traditional red and khaki outfit worn by Target store employees so that shoppers could distinguish those employees.

A Target spokeswoman says the retailer doesn’t have any information on what percentage of the 100,000 seasonal store employees will focus on shipping online orders from store locations.

Target isn’t alone in announcing its holiday hiring plans early. Inc. (No. 59) last week announced plans to hire 8,000 seasonal employees, mostly in Illinois, Ohio and Oregon.

E-commerce vendor Radial said today it will hire 27,000 seasonal employees for the holiday season, expanding its workforce by 400% to help ensure holiday packages arrive on schedule.


Omnichannel-focused e‑commerce vendor Radial will hire 27,000 holiday workers