You've read the words a million times at this point: Retail Apocalypse. When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold in the U.S., retail stores immediately started shuttering, announcing they'd be unable to pay rent, going bankrupt, and laying off employees by the thousands. The pain has continued deep into this year and a third wave of COVID has arrived, but as big box retailers are beginning to hire again ahead of Black Friday and the upcoming holiday season.

Below, we've listed ten major retailers that have ramped up hiring over the last three months in preparation for digital and in-person holiday sales.

1. Macy's ($M)

Job Listings Count: 7,280

Three-Month Growth: 396.8%

Macy's leads all other retailers on this list in terms of hiring grown, having increased job listings by nearly 400% in the last three months alone. That's because rather than prep for a blowout Black Friday weekend, Macy's has decided to turn the entire month of November into their Black Friday sale. The company's Black Friday sale began today and extends through the rest of the month. Macy's has increased efforts on the in-person shopping front, but is also bolstering its e-commerce operation, allowing for curbside pickup of orders and teaming up with DoorDash of all companies to deliver products to customers. Mimicking other successful e-commerce and delivery ventures may prove to be a winning strategy for Macy's - and it's one that clearly requires a lot of manpower.

2. Best Buy ($BBY)

Job Listings Count: 2,610

Three-Month Growth: 387%

Like Macy's, Best Buy is also extending Black Friday throughout the month of November. Electronics and gaming devices have had a landmark 2020 thanks to quarantine, and Best Buy is likely looking to feed off that as long as possible. The stores themselves will be closed on Thanksgiving day, according to a press release from the company, but deals will last through the end of the month and some orders will have same-day delivery or curbside pickup options.

3. Nordstrom

Job Listings Count: 2,610

Three-Month Growth: 345%

Nordstrom has had a bumpy year, having permanently closed 16, or 14%, of its full-line stores over the summer. But now that the holiday season is around the corner, hiring is booming. Nordstrom is going with a more traditional Black Friday structure, as opposed to some of its retail competitors - a press release from the company says, "Whether you plan to shop Nordstrom's 2020 Black Friday sale in our stores (the thrill of living, breathing, deal-loving crowds!) or online at (scoring sweet sale items while sipping tea in your pajamas!), we promise you'll be delighted with our [deals]," and asks customers to mark November 27th on their calendars. It is, however, increasing e-commerce efforts; online orders will come with no shipping costs, as well as the option for in-store pickup.

4. Tapestry ($TPR)

Job Listings Count: 1,440

Three-Month Growth: 300.5%

Tapestry, the owner of luxury brands like Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, is gearing up for the holidays. Luxury brands have been especially hard-hit by COVID-19 as Americans are losing jobs across income levels and are more likely to spend on essentials rather than splurge. But luxury is betting on a holiday season rally as perhaps the one time this year shoppers will go all-out on something expensive. Tapestry is hiring across its brand for a number of store sales associate and "seasonal" associate roles, showing a particular focus on the holiday haul.

5. GAP ($GPS)

Job Listings Count: 3,430

Three-Month Growth: 238%

GAP hasn't yet announced Black Friday plans for any of its brands. The company announced earlier this year that it would be shutting down hundreds of stores, making up approximately 14% of its fleet, by 2024 with a particular focus on closing down stores in malls. To counteract this, GAP has stated that it believes 80% of its revenues will come from online sales by late 2023.

6. DSW ($DBI)

Job Listings Count: 1,250

Three-Month Growth: 131%

Shoe retailer DSW is going for a more traditional holiday-season rollout, starting Black Friday deals a day early on Thanksgiving, likely in an effort to avoid significant crowd sizes, and continuing it throughout the weekend. Parent company Designer Brands separates its job listings by distribution, corporate and in-store, though the number of in-store job listings far outnumbers listings in any other category, showing that the company may be betting on a significant in-store turnout.

7. L Brands ($LB)

Job Listings Count: 6,110

Three-Month Growth: 41%

L Brands, parent company of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, tops this list with the number of currently open positions, even if its recent growth has been much smaller than others. Though Victoria's secret has been dwindling year after year, Bath & Body Works has turned out to be L Brands' star of the pandemic. Candles and hygiene products are doing much better than lingerie during these work-from-home times, and L Brands is hiring ahead of the holidays but may be relying on its existing structures to carry it through the season.

8. J.Crew

Job Listings Count: 1,100

Three-Month Growth: 25.77%

Preppy fashion retailer J.Crew has had a few rough years even before 2020, but this year saw it enter and then promptly leave bankruptcy between May and July as the company restructured its assets. J.Crew has yet to reveal any Black Friday plans, but its website features the usual teases asking customers to sign up for early news about upcoming deals both online and in-store.

9. Burlington Coat Factory ($BURL)

Job Listings Count: 1,100

Three-Month Growth: 25.77%

Burlington was one of the first major retailers back in April to furlough almost the entirety of its staff. The company is still in recovery mode, with a hiring rate still much lower than some of its similarly-sized competitors despite the 25% increase in the last few months. Our data shows that Burlington's best deals usually come during the mid-summer and mid-winter months, but the company may be relying on a holiday season sales bump to carry it through the rough waters.


Job Listings Count: 1,100

Three-Month Growth: 15.5%

Athleisure and sneaker company ADIDAS is also doing an extended Black Friday this year, with sales beginning on November 12 for its "Creators Club" members. Like LuluLemon, ADIDAS has fared relatively well throughout the pandemic thanks to the athleisure "revolution," and while it is bolstering numbers ahead of the holidays, it seems as though it is not banking on a dramatic holiday season the way some other, larger competitors are.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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