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Triangle Retailers Show Strong Signs Of Hiring Holiday Help

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RALEIGH — The attacks of Sept. 11 did little to help an already weak economy.What will holiday employment opportunities be like this year?

Retailers at Crabtree Valley Mall are optimistic about the holiday shopping and hiring season. Its latest report shows that sales are up 3 percent compared to last year.

That means many stores are looking for help. If you want a holiday job, it is time to start looking.

Essie Jeffries, the human resources manager at the Target on Lynn Road in Raleigh, says she need cashiers, floor people, stockers, and other staff positions filled. She plans to hire about 120 people, doubling the current staff.

Jeffries says she has been flooded with applications from laid-off workers. She expects that hiring this year will be much different than last year, when she had to bus in workers from Goldsboro.

At Fallons Creative Flowers in Raleigh, hiring is also on par with last year. Ten people are needed to help fill its stores. This year, they say that they do not have to worry about employees not showing up because the pool of applicants is so strong.

Some managers at Crabtree Valley Mall say they may be hiring a little later and hours may be shorter for some workers, but jobs are available.

Crate and Barrel held a job fair to help fill 40 openings.

"We're just looking to hire up the same way we have in years past," says manager Andy Rogers. "Training is the same as it's been in years past and we're hoping for a good turnout, a busy season, and we're hoping to have plenty of staff because a lot of people are looking for jobs. It's a great time to hire."

Many stores say they will be able to hire the same number of holiday help as last year because sales are not as weak as first predicted.

Projected sales at the Target are up 11 percent so far. Many of the newer stores at Crabtree Valley Mall are doing extremely well, too.