The Strategist

Christmas sales in the USA this year will begin before Halloween

09/09/2020 - 04:03

The pre-holiday sales season in the United States this year may start several weeks earlier - even before Halloween (October 31), writes the Financial Times.

The pandemic has forced retailers including Macy's Inc., Kohl's Corp., Calvin Klein, Guess Inc. and Target Corp., to rethink their sales promotion tactics. Target CEO Brian Cornell said the company is gearing up to launch sales earlier "than ever."

In addition, the sales season could be extended as the authorities want to avoid crowding in stores, which would increase the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.

Urban Outfitters co-founder Richard Hayne said the company plans to extend the sales period, which will start earlier than usual. He is not waiting for last year's peaks "as shoppers try to avoid crowds."

A longer period of sales could allow retailers to increase sales, but there is a risk of lower margins, FT said.

At the same time, executives of some companies also believe that buyers can get tired of offers.

"We have a long tradition of not decorating our stores until Thanksgiving is over," said Nordstrom chief brand manager Pete Nordstrom.

Online retailers are also trying to stretch the sale period to avoid overloading distribution networks. The demand for online shopping could be so high that delivery services will impose additional fees for their services, writes FT. Dick's Sporting Goods Chief Financial Officer Lee Belitsky told analysts he expects similar measures from both FedEx and UPS.

Retailers are also looking to compete with Inc., which pushed its annual sale from July to its fourth quarter this year.

Rates for retailers are particularly high this year given the financial health of the sector. Recent company reports have shown how differently they are dealing with the pandemic. Gap Inc. and Nordstorm reported losses for the second quarter, while Target and Walmart Inc. recorded significant sales growth. Macy's noted last week that shoppers in major cities still avoid shopping.