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Gap (GPS) Starts the Holiday Bash Early, Seasonal Hiring On

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Gap Inc. (GPS - Free Report) has started off early to make most of the holiday season, the busiest part of the year. In fact, the company has begun inviting applications for seasonal associate positions at all stores including Gap, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory and Old Navy across the United States and Canada. The hiring events will be organized at all concerned stores on Sep 23, 2017.

Candidates may choose to apply for all positions through the company’s online seasonal hiring career page prior commencement of the hiring event. Applications for seasonal positions for Athleta stores will also be accepted through its career page.

Regarding the recruitment, there will be open positions for a wide range of services including facing customers at any of its brands’ stores, handling great volumes of calls at its call centers, and coordinating shipments from the distribution centers to its stores as well as to customers buying online or in store.

The company’s early start of preparations for the holiday season reminds of a popular saying, “Well begun is half done.” While the holiday season is away, Gap is among the few retailers that have taken initial steps to make this year’s shopping fest a success.

Markedly, holiday season is a crucial time for retailers marking the greatest selling period of the year. At this time, retailers are on their toes flooding the market with offers and promotions. Early-hour store openings, huge discounts and numerous other promotional strategies are key highlights of the season.

Amid the current challenging retail landscape, the holiday season is likely to bring an opportunity for retailers to improve its comparable-store sales by increasing footfall at its stores, and in turn boost overall profitability.

Hiring of seasonal workers is a common plan for retailers at this time, expecting to reach out to more customers as well as providing world-class shopping experience. Hence, Gap is leaving no stone unturned to make the most of this season and offer superior service to its patrons.

Gap’s New Strategy

Gap recently outlined a promising new strategy focused on its two growth brands, discount juggernaut Old Navy and Athleta. The company expects net sales of more than $10 billion and $1 billion, respectively, at each of the brands over the next few years, with these gains coming as a result of U.S. store expansion as well as mobile and e-commerce growth.

Additionally, the company plans to open 270 Old Navy and Athleta stores while simultaneously closing 200 underperforming Gap and Banana Republic stores over the next three years.

In fact, Gap customers are likely aware that the retailer has steadily increased its online presence across all of its brands, and its online division is one of its most profitable, posting double-digit sales growth.

Along with store expansion, Gap is expected to launch a buy online, pick-up in store service, a new personalization engine that is powered by customer data, and continued significant investment in its omni-channel services.

Going forward, the company hopes that these new strategies might create about $500 million in expense savings over the next three years. Furthermore, it plans to reinvest a portion of those savings in its growth goals.

Notably, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has rallied 19.5% in the past month, comfortably outperforming the industry’s gain of 2%. Also, the stock boasts a VGM Score of A, with a long-term earnings growth rate of 8%, which looks appeasing.

Three Retail Stocks in the Limelight

Better-ranked stocks in the same industry include Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF - Free Report) , Zumiez Inc. and Tilly's, Inc. (TLYS - Free Report) .

Abercrombie & Fitch, with a long-term earnings growth rate of 14%, has delivered positive earnings surprise of 52.9% in the last quarter. Currently, the stock sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Zumiez, a Zacks Rank #1 stock, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 15%. Also, its earnings have outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters, with an average of 27.1%.

Tilly's carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and has pulled off an average positive earnings surprise of 83.7% in the last four quarters.

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