Facing an uncertain 2009, and perhaps acknowledging poor December sales, Apple has reduced the number of paid hours for its retail store employees in the United States. Multiple sources say the cut-back will eliminate all hours for part-time employees, leaving only full-time staffers to handle sales and service at the stores some time in January. The part-time staff are not being laid off, sources say, and will remain on the payroll for recall if visitor traffic requires additional staffing. Retail analyst ShopperTrak RCT Corp. reported pre-Christmas visitor traffic at its member stores, which includes Apple, was down 23.7 percent compared to 2007, while sales were down 5.3 percent. ShopperTrak blamed much of the declines on winter weather across a large portion of the U.S. during the last weekend before Christmas. A typical mall-based Apple store staffs up to 40 part-time employees who work fewer than 20 hours per week. Like other businesses, the use of part-time workers reduces staffing costs because the employees have reduced or no benefits. The part-timers also allow companies to strategically staff-up for busy periods of the day or during the week.