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Amazon (AMZN) Gains on Plans to Hire 70,000 for Holiday Season

Tickers in this article: AMZN JCP TGT WMT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Amazon  rose Tuesday as the world's largest online retailer said it will hire 70,000 full-time seasonal workers to assist with customer demand expected to rise 40% from last year.

In a sign of the online retailer's growth, Amazon plans to transition thousands of the new hires into permanent positions.

"Each year, seasonal jobs lead to thousands of long-term, full-time roles in our sites," said Amazon Vice President Dave Clark in a statement. "So far this year, we have converted more than 7,000 temporary employees in the U.S. into full-time, regular roles."

New hiring will mainly focus on staffing the 45 Amazon warehouses nationwide.

Bricks-and-mortar retailers are also preparing for the upcoming festive season. Struggling J.C. Penney   plans to hire 35,000 temporary workers in line with 2011 levels, Wal-Mart  will hire 55,000 seasonal workers, a 10% increase on 2012, and Target  will hire 20% fewer than last year to 70,000.

Amazon shares are 1.6% higher to $317.65 as of 11 a.m. EST. The stock is leading the S&P 500 which is up 0.71%.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Amazon as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate Amazon (AMZN) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
  • AMZN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 17.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 22.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.35, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Internet & Catalog Retail industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 200% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $7 million to -$7 million.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, Amazon's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.