VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Christmas quite literally starts in July at retailers like Costco and it is not unusual to see the holiday season start creeping into other stores as early as October, but there is one company that has taken a stand.
Seattle-based Nordstrom, which opened a location in Vancouver last fall, has refused to deck its halls until after American Thanksgiving since 1992.
“Nordstrom is playing a good strategic game here, working on the idea that there is a public backlash against too much commercialization,” says Lindsay Meredith, a marketing professor with SFU’s Beedie School of Business. “You start to see Christmas decorations preceding Halloween and Remembrance Day, which is a particularly emotionally loaded date, and you can see how some retailers would be looked at askance for jumping the gun.”
Meredith says Nordstrom’s strategic move in the opposite direction differentiates the retailer from the rest of the pack, but he doesn’t necessarily see other stores following suit.
“There is definitely some pushback from consumers, keep Christmas for Christmas and celebrate the other holidays appropriately, but Nordstrom deals with a high-end, well-educated market. It’s quite possible those consumers take a dim view of some of the ‘crass commercialization’ of the holidays. Whether or not other retailers follow will try to copy the Nordstrom strategy is debatable.”
Meredith points out most retailers are in a competition to attract customers and outsell each other as early as possible ahead of the lucrative Christmas shopping season.
“You can see why retailers are always racing each other to advance Christmas earlier and earlier for fear that somebody else is going to steal their sales away, especially when it comes to large-ticket, durable products like TVs,” he tells NEWS 1130. “Advertising early means there’s a chance you’re going to pull in Christmas dollars from consumers early.”