Amazon: We Are Hiring This Army for the Holidays (NASDAQ:AMZN) plans to hire more than 50,000 temporary employees at its fulfillment centers across the country as part of its preparations for the holiday shopping season. The online retailer said it puts such seasonal employees into tasks related to distribution or fulfilling online orders.

U.S. retailers usually bring on additional workers for the holiday season running from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) announced in September that it had plans of hiring more than 50,000 seasonal employees for its U.S. stores, while Target (NYSE:TGT) said it planned to add about 80,000 to 90,000 temporary workers. Target’s hiring figure is less than last year’s, but it said 30 percent of the holiday season workers then were eventually given year-round positions.

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Amazon did not say how many seasonal workers it hired in 2011, but said the total of 50,000 is up slightly from last year. The company has more than 20,000 full-time employees at its 40 U.S. locations, who receive stock grants and benefits. According to Amazon, stock grants have added an average 9 percent to base pay over the last five years. “Temporary associates play a critical role in meeting increased customer demand during the holiday season, and we expect thousands of temporary associates will stay on in full-time positions,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s vice president of Global Customer Fulfillment, said in a statement.

The National Retail Federation predicted that this holiday season’s sales will increase 4.1 percent from last year to $586 billion. Holiday sales rose 5.6 percent last year and have risen 3.5 percent on average over the past decade, according to the NRF.

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