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Retail Roundup: Bratz dolls, Kohl's, retail sales

October 9, 2010 |  6:00 am

Toy maker MGA Entertainment Inc. will take over the YouTube homepage on 10/10/10 (also known as Sunday) to promote its latest line of Bratz dolls. The dolls will be released that day to celebrate the brand’s 10-year anniversary.

Kohl’s Corp. plans to hire more than 40,000 associates this holiday season, a more than 20% increase over last year, at its stores, distribution centers and credit operations nationwide.

The department store said it anticipated hiring an average of 35 associates per store for the holiday season to support 1,089 stores that it operates in 49 states; and the company anticipates hiring 2,200 and 60 associates at distribution centers and credit operations, respectively, for a total of 40,375 associates.

Seasonal associates can work from a few hours to more than 20 hours per week. Typical store jobs include unloading trucks, freight processing, stocking and cash register duties. Hiring began this month, and most jobs will be filled by mid-November.

Retail sales rose 2.8% in September, better than the 2.1% estimate that analysts had expected, according to a tally of 28 retailers by Thomson Reuters.

Among the month's strongest performers were action-sports retailer Zumiez Inc., which posted a 17% year-over-year increase; teen chain Abercrombie & Fitch Co., with a 13% rise; and Limited Brands, parent of such mall regulars as Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works, which posted a 12% gain.

The results were a relief for retailers because September was the first month this year to face difficult year-ago sales comparisons and because back-to-school sales got off to a slow start this summer.

Holiday retail sales are expected to increase modestly this year, but consumers still face considerable economic uncertainty that could hamper spending, according to the National Retail Federation's annual holiday forecast. In the report released this week, the retail trade group estimated that sales would rise 2.3% to $447.1 billion compared with the same period a year earlier.

-- Andrea Chang