According to USA Today, it’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas:
Costco has 45 holiday-pegged toys already on display and has holiday decorations, lighting and gift-wrap packs for sale at nearly all of its 358 stores.
KIZER & BENDER say: 45 pegged toys doesn’t scream CHRISTMAS! So it looks like they are easing into the holidays. And since Costco is like catnip for male shoppers, we wonder what things the guys will find in Costco’s aisles this year. We’ll let you know.
T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, both chains owned by TJX Companies, began selling everything from Christmas stockings to holiday figurines the third week of August.
KIZER & BENDER say: August is a little too early for our taste, but we understand that these are off-price stores, meaning they sell what they can get at a good price, when they can get it. Their shoppers are trained to “buy it when you see it because it probably won’t be there when you come back.”
And by the way, one of our favorite shoppers lines, ever, was the man who walked into a T.J. Maxx store and said to the associate who greeted him, “I’m here for the thousands of new items that arrive each week!”
Wal-Mart began selling Christmas decorations and holiday-specific toys in most of its 3,231 domestic stores in early September.
KIZER & BENDER say: Wal-Mart offers its customers layaway. We think that’s cool. Wal-Mart’s layaway is typically 60 days, but during the holidays the layaway period starts in September and ends December 12. Beginning the holidays in September makes sense for their customers.
J.C. Penney has no holiday-specific merchandise on the sales floor, but the chain recently began distributing 8 million copies of its Christmas 2006 Big Gift Book. About 5 million will be mailed and 3 million more handed out at stores.
KIZER & BENDER say: Millions of kids wait by the mailbox for Penney’s Christmas Big Gift Book. They carefully mark the pages and make their lists for Santa. Maybe this is the official start to the holidays?
Toys R Us will issue its annual "Hot Toys" list before the end of September. In the stores right now Halloween is a big deal.
KIZER & BENDER say: Smart move. Halloween is the second biggest shopping holiday of the year. More retailers should take advantage of it.
And we love the “Hot Toy List”. How many of you have a list of “Top 10 Not to be Missed” items for every department in your store? Start now so you have it before you are mobbed by shoppers who have no clue what to buy for their loved ones this holiday.
And finally, we applaud the folks at Nordstrom who do not put up a single holiday decoration until Thanksgiving. In fact, Nordstrom has a policy that holiday decorations stay boxed up until the Thanksgiving turkey is eaten.
"We have a 100-year tradition of waiting to unveil our holiday decorations until after Thanksgiving," said John Bailey, a Nordstrom spokesman. "It's a tradition that works for us. We believe in celebrating each holiday in its entirety before moving on to the next one."
KIZER & BENDER say: We remember a time in retail when each holiday was special and they never ran into one another. In the early days of our careers, we both worked for (different) department store chains. We remember how cool it was when we’d finally get to dress the stores for the holidays. After Thanksgiving. Immediately after – the entire store would stay up all night getting the place ready, creating a winter wonderland for shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving. It was pure magic!