September 28, 2009

Shops getting into Christmas spirit early

Ready or not, U.S. retailers are pushing the Christmas shopping season earlier this year to make up for slow summer sales, a marketing expert said.

Everyone's fighting for that Christmas dollar. The recession has only exacerbated the problem, Babson College marketing professor Michael Levy said.

Sears started as early as July, making some display items, like artificial trees, available on layaway, The Boston Globe reported Monday.

Two weeks ago, Rite Aid stores were stocked with Christmas decorations and tins of cookies with a sign that said The joys of winter never melt away.

But wary consumers call the practice of pushing the holiday buying spree earlier each year, Christmas Creep. Some are not pleased to be goaded into shopping before its traditional time.

"You can't get in the Christmas spirit in September, man,'' said Woburn, Mass., resident Manny Hernandez.

Crazy, all this stuff so early, he said. "I don't even think about it until after Thanksgiving, if I'm lucky.''