Lots More Help Wanted: Target Will Add 100,000 Seasonal Workers

In this segment from the Motley Fool Money radio show, host Chris Hill, Supernova and Million Dollar Portfolio's Matt Argersinger, Total Income's Ron Gross, and Motley Fool Pro and Options' Jeff Fischer consider what the cheap chic retailer's holiday season plans say about the status of its business. Last quarter, Target (NYSE: TGT) managed to increase comparable-store sales for the first time in a while, and it's acting like it sees the momentum going in the right direction. Is the optimism justified? And how does Target look compared to its key brick-and-mortar competitors?

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Sept. 15, 2017.

Chris Hill: This week, Target announced it will be hiring 100,000 seasonal workers for the upcoming holidays, that is a 30% increase over what Target did last year. Ron, am I wrong to be slightly optimistic about the retail industry as a result of this?

Ron Gross: I was a bit surprised. I hate to correct your math, but it's a 43% increase from the 72,000. 72,000 to 100,000 is a 43% increase. Target is seeing something that I wouldn't have guessed they would be seeing. Last quarter for Target was, not so bad, let's say. They posted an increase in comparable same-store sales for the first time in a while. And they're obviously seeing momentum carry through, enough to really put money on the line and take all these people in, including an additional 4,500 people to their distribution centers and fulfillment facilities, which I guess are there to help with their online fulfillment, and that was up 32% last quarter. If this follows through and turns out to be a good decision, then maybe Target is back. I'm in the wait-and-see mode, to be honest.

Hill: I'm also a little bit in the wait-and-see mode. And, by the way, don't ever feel bad about correcting my math. But, Macy's came out with their seasonal hiring plan, it's lower than what they did a year ago. Matty, I almost feel like we have to sit on the sidelines and wait and see what Wal-Mart announces, because between Wal-Mart and Target, those are the two biggest dogs when it comes to bricks and mortar.

Matt Argersinger: Right. Like Ron, I feel like Target is really in the second place for that. The investments that Wal-Mart has made have put them in the lead, if we're not talking about Amazon. I just feel like Target probably hasn't taken the big steps that Wal-Mart has.

Chris Hill owns shares of AMZN. Jeff Fischer owns shares of AMZN. Matthew Argersinger owns shares of AMZN and has the following options: short December 2017 $800 puts on AMZN. Ron Gross owns shares of AMZN. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AMZN. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.