H-E-B sees huge surge in job applications amid pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One of Texans' favorite grocery stores reports 50,000 people applied for jobs in just three days last week.

H-E-B's President Scott McClelland revealed the number in a one-on-one interview with ABC13 on Wednesday. McClelland spoke with ABC13 reporter Steve Campion about the incredible demand being placed on the retailer. He said they are rising to the challenge in order to provide essential services.

"We opened up our website last week. In the first three days, we had over 50,000 people apply to H-E-B, which shows just how devastating the COVID-19 virus has been on the overall economy," said McClelland. "We're fortunate. We're hiring predominately in our warehouse right now. We're also adding temp workers in our stores."

McClelland said the company is constantly adjusting their strategy in order to keep the shelves stocked. They're carrying less assortment because it's easier to handle and have also placed a limit on the amount of people who can enter any store at a given time. He said instead of carrying multiple varieties of items, they'll only care a few.

He said in just one day last week they sold a week's worth of ground beef, and there continues to be a high demand for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. He also said they've seen a surprise surge in the sales of SPAM.

"The second thing we've done. We've really worked hard on social distancing to make sure our customers are safe because if our employees don't show up, it is hard to serve the customers who do come. We've put up sanitary shields to protect our customers from our checkers and vice versa," said McClelland. "We've put stickers on the floor to space people out. We're monitoring the amount of people who come into the store. All of this is a slight inconvenience. Not really when you think of the payoff that everyone stays healthy."

McClelland said they've been surprised to see what isn't selling. He joked that whole wheat organic pasta is not very popular right now.

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