Stores begin holiday shopping season early

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in many stores throughout the nation. Shelves are already being stocked with peppermints, miniature Santa clauses and Christmas tree ornaments.

Despite the fact that it is October, many retailers are anticipating large number of sales this Christmas and cannot wait to get started.

Because of this, stores are in competition with one another. Most stores hope to maintain their customers by implementing a number of strategic marketing techniques.

JCPenney has started the Christmas shopping season early. Christmas items have already been placed in its catalog, and stores are currently stocked with Christmas items ready to put on display.

“The reason why we have Christmas products so early is because people are smart and shop early,” said Mikal Stevenson, a service representative for JCPenney. “It may be September, but Christmas is right around the corner, and the best day to shop is the day after Thanksgiving.”

The reason why products are out so soon is because the customers can come in to look and see what they like and then come back during the season to buy the product, said Larry McCorvey, a manager at JCPenney. He expects the company to make millions around the holiday season.

“During the holidays we expect to have great profits of 20-25 percent, or around the range of our competitors,” McCorvey said.

Marshall’s is another company that has decided to introduce its Christmas products early. Marshall’s hopes it can reduce some of the excepted chaos. David Jefferson Jr., a customer service representative, said his store has already begun to attract customers to the spirit of Christmas.

” We advertise our products by commercial ads and also putting them in the front of the store,” Jefferson said.

Although advertising is very appealing, Nathaniel Johnson, an economics professor at Florida A&M University, said there is a downfall to advertising in advance.

“The longer the store runs the ad, the more it will cost the company and the less appealing it becomes towards the customers. No one likes to watch the same ads over and over again,” Johnson said.

Additionally, early advertising causes stores to stock up inventory. When it gets closer to the holiday season they have to eventually lower prices, which is another loss for the stores.

American Greetings uses marketing tools such as word of mouth and relationship selling to attract customers this far in advance of the Christmas shopping season.

“Relationship selling is when a sales associate greets a customer and helps them find products they want. Because of the friendly service the customers are more likely to come back,” said Nancy Wells, a sales associate at American Greetings.

Some students think it is way too early to even think about Christmas. Carissa Barrington, 23, a health care management student from Lloyd, agrees.

“I don’t plan on buying Christmas gifts until after Thanksgiving, because any time before that is too soon. We should focus on the holidays before Christmas,” Barrington said.

While some people may think it is too early to start shopping for Christmas gifts, Chantel Wiley from Miami disagrees. “I think that I should buy my parents’ gifts early because it takes a long time to send it to them,” said Wiley, 18, a pre-med student.

“I plan on buying Christmas gifts at the end of November around Thanksgiving.”

Even though it is only October, Christmas is just a few months away. Unless customers like the thrill of last minute shopping, now is a great time to hit the stores and shop while products are still in stock.