An increase in customer demand is spurring to create 80,000 seasonal positions at its network of distribution centers across the U.S.

That's a 14 percent increase over the number of temporary workers it hired last year at this time.

"We're excited to be creating 80,000 seasonal jobs, thousands of which will lead to regular, full-time roles with benefits starting on day one," Mike Roth, Amazon's vice president of North America operations, said in a statement released Thursday.

The giant online retailer said it plans to convert more than 10,000 of its U.S. seasonal jobs into full-time positions.

Seattle-based Amazon now has more than 50 U.S. warehouses, which the company calls "fulfillment centers." By the end of the year, it will have 15 "sortation centers."

What's the difference? Describing a sortation center in Washington state, The Wall Street Journal writes: "Unlike traditional fulfillment centers where employees sort and prepare items for shipment, this warehouse is full of sealed packages that move along conveyor belts, where workers and computers sort them and prepare to ship them to individual post offices."

Amazon said the sortation centers are "fueling a range of innovations like Sunday delivery, later cut-off ordering times for customers and the ability to control packages deeper into the delivery process."

The Associated Press reports that Amazon is hoping to avoid problems that occurred last holiday season when shippers such as UPS were caught off guard by spiking online orders, particularly from Amazon.

Amazon employs 132,600 full and part-time workers globally, according to The Associated Press.

The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales will be 4.1 percent higher than last year, to $616.9 billion. If that happens, the group says, it would mark the first time since 2011 that holiday sales rose more than 4 percent.

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