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Blog: Time to Deck the Halls?

Most retailers say “yes,” while Nordstrom says “we’ll wait”



At dinner the other night, I shared the news: I had received my first press release about the holidays.

I remember when I first started writing for this industry and the pomp and circumstance surrounding the unveiling of holiday windows the day after Thanksgiving. Fast forward to 2011 and you’re lucky to get through September without seeing holiday merchandise popping up in the aisles at Target and Kroger. The curtains rise on holiday windows well before Black Friday. And store decor? Well, last week during a trip to Macy’s, I watched the store’s visual team fluttering about installing ribbons, frosted-white tree branches and bright red banners.

Wait! I haven’t even bought our Halloween costumes yet!

But plenty others out there are ready to go. The National Retail Federation’s annual holiday spending survey shows 40 percent of Americans say they’ll begin their holiday shopping before Halloween.

The majority of retailers are ready to meet those buying needs. But a few holdouts, such as Nordstrom, buck that trend. “It’s our longstanding tradition that we wait until the day after Thanksgiving to unveil the holiday trim at all of our stores,” company spokesman Colin Johnson told Yahoo! Shine. “We think it’s important to celebrate each holiday on its own.”

Johnson goes on to say that customers appreciate the retailer’s efforts not to be over-promotional. Maybe such policies keep customers coming back year-round and not just during that one-day-only sale that seems to go on for three.


It’s amusing that a policy to not start celebrating the holidays until they actually start stands out as unusual. (The post on read “Nordstrom’s funny holiday shopping policy.”) But I understand why retailers ramp up their holiday celebrations in hopes of maximizing the sales season – a make-or-break time of year. With the NRF projecting a slight 2.8 percent growth in holiday sales in 2011, they’re looking for all the help they can get.

But I also think they can help consumers by not mounting the holiday pressure too early. There’s a fine line between meeting our needs and overwhelming us, so it’s nice to know there are a few places of reprieve still out there.



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