Has the Christmas shopping season overtaken Halloween?
The pandemic has further complicated matters. Supply chain issues have sparked fear of scarcity. Americans, many of whom celebrated a watered-down version of the holidays last year, are also eager to start the holidays and make up for lost time.
“We knew our customers would want to come earlier this year,” said Russ Patrick, merchandise manager for Neiman Marcus, which started selling holiday items – including fully decorated Christmas trees – in September. “There is a desire to catch up with last year’s season which was very impacted by the pandemic.”
Discount retailers are also benefiting from the supply chain rush. “People think, ‘Oh my God, the stores won’t have any products,’” said Bruce Levine, director of merchandising at 99 Cents Only Stores, based in California. “This mindset makes people want to shop early, and we wanted to take advantage of it.”
Before the pandemic, 99 Cents Only Stores returned its Halloween displays to Christmas on the night of October 31. This year, he dumped Halloween products in mid-October. “We’re 10 percent ahead of last year’s sales,” Mr. Levine said. “We plan to have our biggest Christmas yet.”
Big Lots, another budget chain, turned off Christmas lights and trees right after Labor Day. (Halloween products sold out in July.) “Customers now know that if they don’t go out and shop early, they might not get what they want,” said Bruce Thorn, general manager of the company.
Not all retailers brought Christmas forward this year. Home Depot and Walmart have the same hours. One reason may be that not all consumers are happy with the oversized shopping season.
Joe Ramoni, 29, YouTube Creator from Philadelphia, went to her local Rite Aid and Target last week to shop for Halloween decorations, hoping to score some sales, but they’re all gone and replaced with Christmas flourishes. “It looks like we are moving from Halloween to Christmas because of the business value,” he said. “Isn’t there time for both?” “