Challenger, Gray & Christmas said the holiday hiring surge was the largest since 1999.
Holiday hiring was 6.6 percent higher than 2012, when retailers added 751,800 positions for the annual gift-buying splurge.
Much of the push came in December when hiring gained 63 percent from December 2012 with 176,500 hires compared to 108,000.
Hiring was also higher than October 2012, but hiring in November was 6 percent lower compared to November 2012.
"Surprisingly, while forecasts for marginal sales gains and fewer shoppers proved to be accurate, these trends did not appear to slow down hiring activity," Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.
ShopperTrak said holiday sales rose 2.7 percent year to year, while in-store traffic declined nearly 15 percent.