Amazon Hiring 70,000 Seasonal Workers for Holidays Inc. the world’s largest e-commerce company, will hire 70,000 full-time seasonal workers in the U.S. to meet holiday order demand.

The hiring plan represents a 40 percent increase over last year, the Seattle-based company said in a statement today. Amazon converted “thousands” of seasonal workers recruited in 2012 into regular full-time staff and expects to do the same this year, it said.

Amazon is boosting warehouse investment to reduce the time it takes to get products to customers amid rising competition from EBay Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The hiring plan comes as U.S. chains brace for a tough holiday season, with sales projected to rise 2.4 percent, the smallest gain since 2009, according to ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based firm.

Seasonal workers at Amazon earn about 94 percent of the starting wages of fulfillment center employees and are eligible for health-care benefits, the company said.

In July, Amazon said it would boost staff in 17 U.S. warehouses by adding more than 5,000 full-time jobs.

Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, is hiring 55,000 seasonal workers and adding another 70,000 part-time and full-time workers, seeking to bolster its workforce for the holiday season and reversing staff reductions that have made it hard to keep store shelves stocked.

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