Worker shortage could affect holiday shopping plans

Many Alabama retailers are in need of additional help this holiday season.
Many Alabama retailers are in need of additional help this holiday season.(Source: WSFA)
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 8:17 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2021 at 10:18 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - If you are looking for the perfect gift this holiday shopping season it may be a little more difficult to find this year – but not impossible. Some Alabama retailers are still being hit by the labor shortage, meaning less employees that can help you.

“What we have is a lack of labor participation,” Nancy Dennis with the Alabama Retail Association said. “There are people who have just completely dropped out of the labor – They’re not working anymore.”

Some workers are retiring while others are simply done with the industry, Dennis said.

The Alabama Retail Association, which represents about 4,300 businesses, has noticed many shops preparing to meet demand by hiring seasonal staff sooner.

“Retailers, like especially smaller retailers, they have seasonal staff that they hire pretty much every year, and so they may have already done that by now,” she said. “A lot have went ahead and put them on in October instead of waiting until November.”

As shoppers become more comfortable visiting stores, the association is expecting a 7% to 11% increase in sales this November and December.

Despite Thursday’s rain, Christmas shopping was still in full swing at The Shoppes at EastChase. The parking lot was nearly full as more shoppers pulled in. To meet the holiday demand, many stores are hiring.

“Most of our retailers are still hiring full time, part time and seasonal help for the holiday season,” said Suzanna Wasserman Edwards with The Shoppes at EastChase.

With less staff, many shops are remaining closed longer.

“We’re still operating on limited store hours and will likely continue that throughout the holiday season,” she said. “It’s definitely going to be different than we’ve done in the past.”

Edwards believes this is actually a positive. It helps prevent additional strain on workers by providing additional prep time. She said this leads to better customer service.

“They’ve gotten it a little bit more organized, and they’re able to confidently manage the store with limited hours,” she said.

The Shoppes at EastChase said its retailers are fully stocked and ready.

You can visit The Shoppes at EastChase’s website to find the full list of retailers and their current operating hours. You can also find Eastdale Mall’s full list of retailers and their operating hours on their website.

It is recommend that you know your store’s hours before visiting.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.