Retailers begin Christmas shopping push

8:14 PM, Sep 17, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, FL - The calendar might say September and Halloween is still more than a month away but several major retailers already want you to be thinking about the holiday shopping season.

Last week Kmart launched its first nationwide holiday season TV spot featuring a gingerbread man.

Not to be outdone, Toys R Us has rolled out a holiday shopping program offering a 10 percent cash-back reward on some toy purchases made through October 31.

And if that's not enough, Walmart is out with its annual top holiday toys list.

Appearing on this year's list: Furby Boom!, Sofia the First Talking Doll and Animal Friends and Hot Wheels Triple Track Twister.

But as 10 News found out, not everyone is so merry about Christmas in September.

"It seems crazy to me. I mean, we're not even through Halloween," said Adella Ashton of St. Petersburg.

"It makes me more inclined not to shop at the store that's advertising this early, actually," added Gina Kravitz.

The reason for the early displays and ads is simple: retailers are trying to get a bigger piece of the pie.

"There's only a fixed amount of money a lot of people would be able to spend on holiday shopping, so if you get it early you actually bank that money, rather than some other retailer (taking) it from you," said University of South Florida associate Professor of Marketing Dip Biswas.

Biswas also says the traditional holiday shopping season is shorter this year.

"This year, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is really short; four weekends, compared to five weekends last time."

Another reason for the early holiday shopping push: Hanukkah begins this year on Thanksgiving.

On top of that, the forecast for this year's holiday shopping season is not expected to be as strong as in recent years. Sales are estimated to rise 2.4 percent this year, but that's less than the 3 percent jump retailers saw last year.

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