This paper describes an employee scheduling system for retail outlets; it is a constraint-based system that exploits forecasts and stochastic techniques to generate schedules meeting the demand for sales personnel. Uncertain scenarios due to fluctuating demand are taken into account to develop a stochastic operational optimization of staffing levels. Mathematically, the problem is stated as a mixed-integer linear programming problem. Simulations with store data belonging to a major Swiss retailer show the effective performance of the proposed approach. The schedule quality is assessed through comparison with a deterministic scheduling package, which has been used at several outlets in Switzerland. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.