Why do retailers put out Christmas merchandise so early? Why are we subjected to Santa Claus and his reindeer before we have even packed away our summer sandals? Without a doubt, the most common statement heard in retail stores everywhere in late summer and early fall is, “Christmas, already?”. I spent ten or twelve years in retail, so I should know. I can give you the insider secrets, the scoop on early Christmas merchandising, if you will. Why do retailers put out Christmas merchandise so early? There are a multitude of reasons.
1. Supply and demand. That’s right consumers, retailers put out Christmas merchandise so early because you buy it. Whether it be a crafty person (needing supplies for their Holiday projects) or a Grandma shopping early (so as not to leave anyone out), Christmas merchandise is popular merchandise. Retailers are in business to make a profit. If they didn’t make a profit, you would have no place to shop. Christmas merchandise sells. That’s the bottom line.
2. Retail stores have to shop too. In order to get you the Christmas merchandise you need and want, retailers have to shop warehouses early. Retailers who delay ordering their Christmas merchandise from warehouses and manufacturers may not have anything left to buy. Buying early also means they have a lot of merchandise in their own warehouses. It’s sitting there, just collecting dust and taking up space. They have to make room for the next season’s merchandise. Why not put it in the stores to increase their profit margin and make space in the warehouse for incoming shipments?
3. Extending the season. The Christmas shopping season is the time when retailers make the most profit. Often, the profit from holiday sales carries retailers through the rest of the year. Christmas pays their bills. It keeps employees basking in job security. Why not extend the Christmas shopping season? Doing so enables retailers to stay in business in a bad economy. It also gives them a longer time period to sell Christmas merchandise. Why is this necessary? To avoid waste.
4. Avoiding waste and lost profits. One major problem in the retail industry is selling all the holiday merchandise. It’s a delicate balance between ordering enough and ordering too much. Sometimes seasonal merchandise is even thrown away at the end of the season. Why? There’s no room for it in the branch store warehouse. Throwing or giving merchandise away is cheaper than shipping it back to the main warehouse. By putting out Christmas merchandise early, retailers hope to have a better chance of selling everything they ordered, rather than selling it at a loss, giving it away or tossing it in the trash.
5. Christmas cheer and goodwill toward man. No offense to all the cheerful customers out there, but not all customers are good at it. In fact there is a running joke in retail about giving good customer classes along with good customer service classes. There are a lot of demanding and unreasonable people out there giving customer service people a hard time on a daily basis. Customers can be very defensive and even downright spoiled. At Christmas time, however the tide turns for the better. Everyone is happy. The merchandise flies off the shelf. Goodwill and good wishes are abundant. Can you blame retailers for wanting this moment to last more than a few weeks? After all, next up is inventory time. ARGHH!