SAN FRANCISCO – Target plans to hire about 70,000 seasonal workers for the holiday shopping season, down about 20 percent from a year ago, with the aim of being more efficient in its hiring practices.

The move to hire 18,000 fewer temporary holiday workers versus last year’s 88,000 comes as the Minneapolis-based chain saw that its own permanent employees wanted to get first dibs on working extra hours for the holiday season.

Target Corp. said it also wants to respond more quickly to the peaks and valleys of customer traffic, which have become more pronounced for many stores as shoppers time their buying for when they believe they can get the best deals.

“We’re getting smarter in terms of anticipating how many resources we need when guests are really going to be shopping the hardest,” said Jodee Kozlak, Target’s executive vice president of human resources.

Kozlak said Target workers want to work extra holiday hours because they enjoy helping out during the busy holiday season, and they want to make extra money for family gifts. She said Target employees who choose to work extra for the holiday seasons can add anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent to their working hours compared with a year ago.

Target’s hiring strategy follows an announcement by Kohl’s Corp., which said Thursday that it plans to hire about 53,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season. That’s slightly more than last year, a Kohl’s spokeswoman said.