Report: Retailers are cutting back on jobs
Retailers were busy adding jobs in 2018, but they also were cutting positions at the same time.
Through December, retailers announced 98,563 cuts in 2018, 29.5% higher than the 76,084 announced last year, according to a report released by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Retail cuts comprise 18.3% of all announced cuts this year, the report found, with a large part of the cuts due large-scale layoff announcements from store closings.
Major job cut announcements in retail came from Toys “R” Us, which closed its doors in March. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas tracked 30,000 cuts at the time due to the company’s bankruptcy.)
In addition, Sears has been steadily cutting jobs and closing stores. The placement firm tracked 10,016 planned cuts at Sears and Kmart stores this year. In all, retailers announced plans to hire 699,560 individuals in 2018, 439,000 of which were seasonal, the firm said.
“While retailers have made significant job cuts this year, the industry is also doing the bulk of hiring, albeit seasonally,” said Andrew Challenger, VP of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “It remains to be seen if retailers cut these jobs in the New Year.”
Total job cuts in 2018 rose 28.6% over 2017. In total, 538,659 job cuts were announced in 2018 — the highest total since 2015 when 598,510 cuts were recorded — compared to 418,770 announced in 2017, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
In other findings from the report:
• During the final quarter of the year, employers announced 172,601 job cuts, 42.8% higher than the 120,879 recorded in the third quarter and 77.4% higher than the 97,292 announced in the same quarter last year. It is the highest quarterly total since the first quarter of 2016, when 180,920 cuts were announced.
• December’s job cut total is 17.3% lower than the 53,073 cuts announced in November and 35.3% higher than the cuts announced in the same month last year.
• Challenger, Gray & Christmas tracked 798 announced job cuts specifically due to enacted tariffs.
“It remains to be seen, especially as new trade deals continue to be negotiated and tariffs are lifted or further enforced, what the impact on job cuts will be,” Challenger said. “The large-scale job cut announcements due to these tariffs have yet to be announced, it seems.”
Credit cards have become consumers preferred payment source
Americans love credit cards — particularly when shopping in stores.
That’s according to a report from Mercator Advisory Group which found that, when consumers were asked to choose their single most preferred payment type in stores, 36% said they preferred credit cards, followed by debit cards (33%) and cash (18%). Three percent said they preferred private-label revolving store cards, and 2% preferred checks.
The survey also found that that U.S. consumers are now more likely to prefer using credit cards rather than debit cards or any other payment type at online retailers for online travel, digital content, and even online bill payments than since Mercator started tracking usage preference in 2015. Sixty-two percent of U.S. households used credit cards in 2018, up from 60% of U.S. households in 2017.
Debit cards, however, are often preferred for small purchases and everyday in-store spending such as groceries, according to Mercator’s “U.S. Consumers and Credit: Rising Usage” study. The report presents the findings from Mercator Advisory Group’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series online panel of 3,002 U.S. adult consumers surveyed in June 2018.
“In 2018, credit cards rewards and online shopping appear to be driving stronger use of general purpose network branded credit cards, especially since three in 10 credit cardholders say they use premium credit cards that have an annual fee,” said Karen Augustine, manager of Primary Data Services, including CustomerMonitor Survey Series, at Mercator Advisory Group, and the author of the report.
Publix to offer Aprons online cooking classes
Those who are looking to better their skills in the kitchen in the new year might look to Publix for a little extra help.
The Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer announced the launch of its first online Aprons Cooking School classes, which will premiere on YouTube.
Classes are to be held by two Publix Aprons Cooking School chefs, free to watch and will allow viewers to participate in a live chat by submitting comments and questions to be answered during the stream, the company said.
The first January episode, titled “Get Cooking in the New Year,” will show viewers how to easily prep, cook and assemble three meals using a Publix deli oven-roasted chicken. A second episode, “Date Night” will premiere on Feb. 9, and demonstrate recipes for a romantic date night. The third episode, “Fill It, Stuff It and Roll It,” will debut on March 9, and show viewers how to wrap, stuff and roll various appetizers from around the world.
Each of the three classes are to begin at 6 pm ET and can be viewed any time after their premiere date and time on Publix’s YouTube channel. Further information on the classes can be found on the retailer’s website.