The pandemic has further complicated matters. Supply chain problems have fueled fears of scarcity. Americans, many of whom celebrated the diluted version of the holiday 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, head of merchandise for Neiman Marcus, who began selling festive merchandise in September – including fully decorated Christmas trees. “There is a desire to make up for last season, which was heavily affected by the pandemic.”
Discount retailers are also taking advantage of the supply chain rush. “People are thinking,‘ Oh my god, stores won’t have products, ’” said Bruce Levine, chief marketing officer at 99 Cents Only Stores, based in California. “This mindset encourages people to want to shop early, and we wanted to take advantage of that.”
Before the pandemic, the 99 Cents Only Stores store on the night of October 31 changed its displays from Halloween to Christmas. This year, she removed the Halloween merchandise in mid-October. “We have 10 per cent in sales before last year,” Mr Levine said. “We plan to make our biggest Christmas ever.”
Big Lots, another budget chain, turned off Christmas lights and trees right after Labor Day. (Halloween products were sold in July.) “Customers now know that if they don’t get there and shop early, they may not get what they want,” said Bruce Thorn, the company’s CEO.
This year, not all retailers have moved to Christmas. Home Depot and Walmart are on the same schedule. One reason may be that not all consumers are happy with the big shopping season.
Joe Ramoni, 29, YouTube creator from Philadelphia, went to his local Rite Aid and Target last week to shop for Halloween decorations, hoping to make some sales, but they all disappeared and were replaced with Christmas decorations. “It seems like we’re skipping right from Halloween to Christmas because of the commercial value,” he said. “Isn’t there time for both?”