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How About This! - “It’s All-Hands-On-Deck,” Macy’s Offers ‘Corporate’ Workers A ‘Valuable Opportunity’: ‘In-Store’ Shifts

Published Friday, November 19, 2021
by Abha Bhattarai/The Washington Post
How About This! - “It’s All-Hands-On-Deck,” Macy’s Offers ‘Corporate’ Workers A ‘Valuable Opportunity’: ‘In-Store’ Shifts

(NEW YORK CITY) - Macy’s is asking Corporate Employees to volunteer for shifts in its department stores on Black Friday and other busy holiday shopping days, during a time when the retail sector is struggling to fill more than one million job openings.

Internal e-mails and a corporate memo reviewed by The Washington Post show Macy’s is enlisting Corporate Workers to help fold clothes, clear dressing rooms and restock merchandise.

The “Experience Elevation Elves” Program calls on Office Workers to “lend a helping hand” at stores in the coming weeks.

“As a company, we understand that business continues to be different, and where we can, we want to influence our high traffic moments, finding ways to elevate the customer experience,” Macy’s said in an Internal Employee Website outlining its “Holiday All Hands-On Deck” strategy.

The New York-based retailer has said it wanted to fill 76,000 positions at its Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury stores, as well as call centers and warehouses, ahead of the holidays.

Last week, it raised its starting hourly wage to $15 and began offering free college tuition to attract applicants.

The holiday shopping season - which accounted for nearly 40% of Macy’s 2020 sales - is critical to the struggling department store chain, which has been roiled by COVID-related closures and steep drops in mall traffic.

Year-over-year sales have fallen for nine of the past 11 quarters and the company has yet to recover from a $3.6 billion quarterly loss at the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The run-up to Christmas, executives said, could be a turning point.

“During the holiday season, our stores see incredible spikes in traffic volume,” they said in an e-mail to Corporate Employees. “With your support, our store colleagues will be able to stay focused on elevating the customer experience - helping them check every gift off their list, and maybe a few for themselves as well.”

The e-mail encouraged employees to volunteer for as many as three 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shifts, and recommended they wear “comfortable, close-toed shoes and business casual dress.”

The effort comes as the retail industry is in a scramble to hire - more than two million Workers quit from July to September, according to U.S. Labor Department data.

“We’re seeing a wider understanding that these were never good jobs and they were never livable jobs,” Rebecca Givan, a Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at Rutgers University, told The Washington Post in June.  “If anything, the pandemic has made retail jobs even less sustainable than they already were.”

However, the Department Store Chain reported a $345 million profit in the most recent quarter and was scheduled to report third-quarter financial results this week.

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