Retail employees affected by seasonal layoffs

After the Christmas season ends, employers let go of seasonal workers, causing stress for the remaining retail employees.

Shannon Jones
Kicker News

A retail worker takes carpets out of a bin to bring them into a store.
A retail worker takes carpets out of a bin before bringing them into a store in downtown St. John’s. Many seasonal retail workers, however, were laid off after the Christmas season. Shannon Jones/Kicker

Employers hire many new retail employees during the busy Christmas season. After the holidays, the industry slows in comparison to the holiday rush.

Many employers say that the retail industry cannot maintain the expanded work force due to the decline in sales right after the holiday season. Therefore, cuts and layoffs must be made to sustain the ability to employ and pay the employees. With these layoffs, the remaining sales associates must work more to make up for fewer people.

Emma Bartlett, an employee at Eclipse in the Avalon Mall, has worked in retail for a few years and finds the first two months of the new year to be the most draining.

“It’s a bit of an issue for our store right now,” Bartlett said. “We lost all of our seasonal workers and we are having to pick up more or longer shifts to be able to cover the people that corporate let go.”

Bartlett says she works every second night for six or seven hours, causing her stress in her school and personal life.

Ethan Kearney, a Memorial University business student who works at Walmart, says his mental health is affected by the low staffing in retail businesses due to the layoffs.

“If I take time off for school, I’m not making enough money to pay my rent, but if I continue to work so much, I stress myself out because I don’t have enough time to do my school work,” Kearney said. “It’s an issue I still haven’t learned to deal with in all my years in retail.” 

Both Kearney and Bartlett say retailer layoffs affect more than just the ones let go; they affect all the remaining workers as well. 

Students must split their time between school and work while scrambling to pay bills, rent, tuition, and other necessities. Many retail workers claim being laid off or having to work more affects their ways of life and that they feel it causes them more stress.



The Daily Labour Force Survey shows that the layoff rate has decreased since 2019 and that it should continue to decline. The Daily suggested layoff rates could improve for retail workers, including full-time or part-time.

“Maybe there is a brighter future ahead,” Kearney said, “but right now, we’re struggling.”


Shannon Jones is a student journalist at CNA who has a passion for writing and playing unusual sports.

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