Kohl's plans to hire about 400 workers for three Valley stores scheduled to open in September, the company announced Monday.
The company is opening stores in former Mervyns locations in Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis, at Hanford Mall and near Prospect Street and Henderson Avenue in Porterville.
The jobs are a "modest" gain for the area's retail industry, which has been losing jobs -- but also a sign that shoppers here have money to spend, experts said.
Kohl's plans to hire 150 workers at its Clovis store and 130 each at Hanford and Porterville, according to the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based company.
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It is seeking employees ranging from cashiers and customer service workers to truck unloaders and housekeepers.
The jobs are part- and full-time. The company offers health insurance and 401(k) plans to both types of positions, but a spokeswoman declined to comment on wages.
Job fairs are scheduled in all three cities starting Sunday and continuing through Aug. 12, but applicants are urged to apply and set up an interview time online at www.kohlscareers.com. Applicants who show up without a scheduled time may be able to get an interview, according to the company.
The jobs are a small bright spot in Fresno County's unemployment rate -- 16% for June, the most recent month information is available, according to the state Employment Development Department.
In Fresno County, the retail industry has been losing jobs each month when compared to the same month the previous year since July of 2008, said Steven Gutierrez, a labor market analyst for the state.
Fresno County lost 400 retail jobs in the last year -- a 5.5% decrease. Tulare County saw a 5.7% decline in retail jobs and Kings County had a 9.1% decrease over the same time period.
"Even though this would probably be considered a modest gain as to the retail sector, at least that's more people in the labor \ that weren't there before," Gutierrez said.
The stores also provide a place for the shoppers who once frequented Mervyns and Gottschalks, said Steve Geil, president of Fresno County's Economic Development Corp.
Retailers like Kohl's will only open in a community if its detailed studies show there's money to be made, he said.
"It's all very studied, very researched. Their decisions are made from very factual data," he said. "It's a good, positive sign for retail."