Some stores already stocking their shelves with holiday products

EDMONTON – It may only be the first week of August, but that’s not stopping some stores from getting their Halloween – and even Christmas – merchandise out. The trend has some asking: how soon is too soon?

While Jessica Duff says it may be a little too early for the Christmas decorations, she does admit to browsing the Christmas tree aisle while shopping for groceries at Costco on Tuesday. But it was a giant light-up skull that caught her eye.

“My husband is a Halloween nut, and I saw it, and I had to get it before they were gone,” she explains.

Costco isn’t the only one getting a head start on the Halloween and Christmas season. Dollar stores are also thinking ahead, as are specialty stores.

“We started Halloween, oh probably about two months ago,” says Leanne Tkachuk, manager of the Wish List gifts on Whyte Avenue.

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Since holidays can be the bread and butter for shops like this one, they don’t waste any time getting the decorations out. A back corner of the Wish List is already dedicated to Christmas decor, and Halloween items are more prominently displayed at the front.

“We always have all the Halloween out before the Fringe Festival, because that’s usually when we get the most eclectic kind of crowd out here,” Tkachuk says.

So why are the big box stores doing it? According to Kyle Murray with the University of Alberta School of Retailing, the trend boils down to businesses responding to competition.

“Maybe originally we broke out Christmas stuff early December. Somebody did it mid-November, now we have to do it late October, next thing you know it’s August.”

He explains that by getting out their seasonal merchandise earlier, stores are hoping consumers will remember them when it finally comes time to buying that Christmas tree. But they could be treading a fine line.

“In the short-term,” Murray says, “they’ll probably get a few more sales as a result of having that merchandise out before their competitors. In the long-term, there are some negative feelings that come from going into a store and feeling ‘It’s August, I’m not quite ready for Christmas.'”

As for back-to-school sales happening right now, which may be slightly more timely, one study expects that Canada-wide, spending will climb four percent over last year.

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With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News

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