Stores in a shopping centre are planning a big seasonal jobs boost by taking on more than 70 extra staff to cope with the busy run-up to Christmas.
The largest recruiters at Eagles Meadow in Wrexham are Debenhams and Marks & Spencer who between them are taking on at least 55 temporary staff, which is an increase on last year for both stores as confidence in a great seasonal period runs high.
Another 16 staff are heading for the sales floors at Next and Pandora jewellers.
Recruiting to fill around 30 vacancies at Debenhams is now well underway, according to store manager Torrey Winter.
She said: “The extra people we take on will be joining all our departments, with about half of them going to what we call back-of-house, which is the loading bay and the stock room,
“The other half will be working in the restaurant and also in our sales areas which include women’s, women’s lingerie and cosmetics on the ground floor and home, men’s and children’s on the first floor.
“The total of about 30 additional staff, the majority of whom are on temporary contracts, will stay with us in the run-up to Christmas and through until January.
“This is certainly more than we took on last year and reflects the very successful time we’re having.
“We’re doing incredibly well which means we’re expecting to have an even better pre-Christmas than last year which itself was amazing.
“Our success story here at Eagles Meadow just seems to roll on.”
It’s a similar good news story at Marks & Spencer where clothing manager Ceri Roberts said they’ve been recruiting to fill around 25 temporary vacancies.
Ceri said: “The run-up to Christmas is always an extremely busy time of the year for us, so each year we take on extra staff to help us over the period.
“We’ve done quite a bit of recruitment already and the assistants we have recruited will be joining us from November onwards. They’ll then stay with us over the whole Christmas period until January.
“Altogether there will be about 25 temporary staff – who we call customer assistants and they will be working in various roles throughout the store in departments such as clothing and home, food, the coffee shop and behind the scenes in operations.
“We still have a number of vacancies available, anyone interested in applying please visit our website.
“The number of temporary staff joining us is slightly more than last year because we’re looking forward once again to a really busy period in every department.
“It’s all about continuing to give our customers the high level of service they have come to expect.”
Sarah Young, assistant manager at Next, said: “We’ll be taking on eight temporary sales staff, who’ll start with us at the beginning of November and stay with us until early January.
“This is a very busy time for us and we need the extra people to help us cope with the rush.
“They’re on contracts varying in length from nine to 18 hours and will be helping out in all departments.”
Also busy recruiting for Christmas has been the Pandora jewellery store where new manager, Cheryl Jones, said: “We’ll be having eight additional sales staff working with us.
“This is our first Christmas in Eagles Meadow and judging by how busy we’ve been since we opened early in the year we’re confidently expecting to be packed out.
“In fact, we’ve just put the finishing touches to our queueing system outside the store.”
Eagles Meadow centre manager Kevin Critchley said: “I know many of the businesses here are in the process of recruiting extra staff for the Christmas period which is always an exceptionally busy time at Eagles Meadow.
“One of the factors is that late night shopping starts on November 17 when the Christmas trade starts in earnest.
“The confidence being shown by both Debenhams and Marks & Spencer in increasing the number of people they are taking on is particularly encouraging.
“This confidence by two of our largest stores mirrors recent figures which showed increased footfall of almost five per cent in the seven months following the introduction of lower parking charges at Eagles Meadow.
“This represents an additional 66,709 people visiting the shopping centre and certainly bodes well for an excellent Christmas trading period.”
The new lower parking charges include a new one hour rate of £1 for people who just need to pop by for a quick visit.
The two hour rate is now £1.50 while the three hour charge is £2 and the evening rate is £1.50 for people going to the cinema, tenpin bowling or to eat at one of the centre’s restaurants.