February 20, 2011 in Business

Home Depot, Lowe’s plan spring hiring sprees

David Phelps And David Shaffer Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
 

MINNEAPOLIS — For the big-box home improvement chains, Christmas is coming. And that means spring hiring season.

Home Depot Inc. said Tuesday it plans to hire 60,000 seasonal workers (about the same as last year to handle the annual spring crush of business that appears to portend a pickup in home improvement projects as well.

Home Depot said it increased its permanent workforce by several thousand year-over-year for the second year in a row.

“Spring is our Christmas,” said Jen King, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based company.

Lowe’s Cos. said Tuesday that it will hire about 50,000 temporary workers this spring, up from 43,000 last year, a 16 percent increase.

That follows Lowe’s announcement two weeks ago that it would hire 8,000 to 10,000 additional permanent part-time employees, or four to eight per store, to increase its sales force on weekends, the peak sales days. The company, based in Mooresville, N.C., has 1,725 stores.

The big-box home-and-garden retailers hope strong spring sales will put consumers in a home-improvement frame of mind.

“The customer’s view of the home has changed,” King said. “They’re doing fewer big projects but more, smaller ones. They’re staying in their home longer and doing things to make it enjoyable and more livable.”

Spring typically is an upbeat time for the home improvement business.

“That is when our customers come in the stores,” said Lowe’s spokeswoman Katie Cody. Lowe’s will offer its outlook for spring sales during its fourth-quarter earnings announcement next week, Cody said.

In November, the company predicted total sales would increase 3 to 4 percent this year, with a 1 to 2 percent comparable store sales increase. In a sign of the times, a Lowe’s survey last year found that 43 percent of customers said they planned to spend on home improvements only when absolutely necessary.


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