If you noticed a Christmas tree at your favorite store, it’s not a mistake. This year the Christmas rush is starting earlier than ever, because retailers are in desperate need of shoppers! According to the Indianapolis Star, Sears put up its “Christmas Lane” in almost 400 stores right after July 4th! Toys R Us, Kmart and Hallmark all just kicked off their Christmas sales, hoping that they can snag customers before the other guys do. They’re all banking on the idea that most shoppers will want to spread out their spending over a few months so they won’t get slammed with bills in December. Kmart and Sears have even resurrected some of their old fashioned saving tools. They brought back layaway a few months ago, which had completely disappeared since everyone started buying with credit cards. Now, the Christmas Club is making a comeback. These are cards you can add to when you have extra money, and when Christmas rolls around you use it to buy presents just like a debit card.
Inside the store, inventory is changing too. Since the economy hasn’t fully recovered yet, people are buying fewer big ticket items. Stores are trying to save money by only stocking what they think they can sell. The last thing they want is a repeat of last year, when holiday sales were terrible and they were left with millions in leftover inventory. So, it looks like retail outlets are rolling with the punches in a bad economy, and trying to give shoppers what they want. However, experts are worried that starting Christmas as early as JULY could backfire; shoppers could be sick of the Holidays by Halloween! Savvier shoppers will figure out that if stores are getting their Christmas stuff out NOW, it won’t be too long before they have to start discounting, big time! So they’ll still wait to shop until closer to the holidays.