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Penney to hire 35,000 holiday season workers, on par with 2011

Customers ride the escalator at a J.C. Penney store in New York August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Customers ride the escalator at a J.C. Penney store in New York August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - J.C. Penney Co Inc plans to hire about 35,000 temporary workers for the coming holiday season, roughly the same level as in 2011, before it changed its pricing strategy and did away with most coupons and sales events, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Last year, the company had sales only on Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, two major shopping days that follow U.S. Thanksgiving, during the holiday season.

The promotional pricing strategy led to sales falling a disastrous 31.7 percent during the quarter that including the Christmas period.

The company has returned to a discount and coupon-heavy approach to pricing, which is more labor intensive.

"Not only will we need the help to assist customers but also to help with tasks such as changing price signage, etc," spokeswoman Kate Coultas told Reuters.

Penney, which operates 1,100 stores, did not disclose how many holiday workers it hired last year.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Kohl's Corp said they were hiring more workers for this holiday season, while Target Corp said it would hire fewer, though year-round staff would get the chance to work more hours.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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