Pam Kleckner glanced over the items at Super Wal-Mart, 1250 E.
Her shopping cart was empty, but her eyes were fixated on the
singing 4-foot-tall bear in a complete Santa costume. Standing next
to the bear was a mechanical Santa about the same size.
“If I had my way, I’d get one of each,” she said. “This is my
favorite time of the year. I love to see all this stuff.”
Shoppers roamed through more than 15 aisles of Christmas
d�cor and gift-giving cheer that seemed to have invaded the
east corner of the shopping center. Christmas trees and talking
Santas competed for floor space, and stockers swung their loads of
fresh merchandise out onto the floor, making room for more
Fort Collins resident Tiffany White was looking over the
Christmas apparel Tuesday evening at Wal-Mart.
“I can’t believe it’s started this early,” she said.
Whether or not consumers are ready for the holidays, retailers
“Our stores begin carrying holiday seasonal merchandise as early
as September because we’ve found that customers are wanting to
begin their shopping that early,” said Karen Burk, public relations
correspondent for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The October, November and December months are a big part of the
year, said Melissa Allen, store manager at Hobby Lobby, 4106 S.
College Ave. She said the decision as to when stores put out their
merchandise is made at the corporate level.
The holidays are undoubtedly the biggest spending time of the
year and Allen said it increases Hobby Lobby’s sales.
“The holiday season definitely helps out a lot,” she said.
Tom Ingram, a CSU marketing professor, agreed.
“Stores have to get (their merchandise) early or shoppers won’t
consider them a private source for Christmas,” Ingram said.
“There’s a huge pressure to perform and as the downturn of the
economy has become prolonged, the market has also become more
He said consumers are racing to get everything done around the
“They are thinking about all they need to get done before
Christmas, and people want the holidays to be a time of relaxation.
One way of doing that is to get the shopping done early,” Ingram
With the cheer of the holidays, consumers sometimes spend
excessively, Allen said.
“The more mature majority of people who have been through and
learned the error of their ways don’t make the mistake (of
overspending),” he said.
However, some shoppers can’t wait for the season of giving to
“There’s a huge yearning for the comfort of the holidays,”
Allen said because many people make their own holiday gifts,
Hobby Lobby puts out its holiday supplies earlier. Wal-Mart does
“We know that crafters need to start their projects early so
you’re going to see holiday craft items such as fabrics in our
stores fairly early,” Burk said.
Burk said Christmas items show up early so Wal-Mart can cater to
the needs of its customers.
However, Wal-Mart customer and Fort Collins resident Julie Ellis
said the availability of Christmas items comes a little too early
for her taste.
“It’s cute, but it’s still too early,” Ellis said as she held up
a stuffed dog in a Santa hat. “I think they should let you have
Thanksgiving. Now you lose Thanksgiving because they push Christmas
Austin McKenna, sophomore business finance major, said the
Christmas cheer is good for people who like to get their holiday
shopping done early.
“There’s always those people who get things done early, but it’s
a little weird that it’s not even Thanksgiving and they have
Christmas stuff up already,” McKenna said.
Almost like the chicken or the egg scenario, whether the
consumer buys the Christmas items because they are on the shelves
or if the store provides the Christmas apparel because of consumer
demand is still unclear.
“As a consumer, it’s puzzling to me,” Ingram said. “Once the
cycle starts, it’s hard to stop.”
Joanna Larez contributed to this story.