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Sears says Christmas in July. No seriously

July 14, 2009

The term Christmas in July has been around for a long time; it’s mainly used to describe pleasant surprises that occur during the non-winter months.  Well Sears and K-Mart are now taking this phrase very seriously.

Both retailers have recently added a new section to their web sites known as Christmas Lane, which encourages visitors to start their holiday shopping now.  They also have selected numerous retail outlets that will dawn holiday decorations… in July.

This new campaign is designed to do two things.  First, their goal is to get people to think about buying their holiday presents early; ok REALLY early.  They hope that shoppers will reward their marketing efforts by spending a little more when they go into a Sears by maybe buying an additional sweater for Aunt May for Christmas.

The second goal of the campaign is to make shoppers aware of their layaway program.  Layaway may seem like an ancient selling practice, but in this struggling economy it may be a good option for those who can’t pay for everything at once.

I’ll give Sears some credit; this is a pretty inventive idea.  It’s unique, and it will definitely raise some eyebrows and catch lots of shoppers’ attention.  From a marketing standpoint it’s interesting; from a personal standpoint I hate it.

Last year I walked into a JC Penny’s in mid October and remember being shocked because they already had their Christmas decorations out.  I was thinking about my Halloween costume, and they had trees, tinsel, snow and Christmas Carols in the store.  I thought it was absolutely ridiculous.

Christmas in July from a consumer’s standpoint is almost insulting.  In fact, I mentioned this new strategy to numerous people and received nothing but confusion.  One consumer responded to me with, “No… Well I guess Sears needs all the help they can get”.

This campaign does smell awful desperate; it makes me wonder how well Sears is doing with their bottom line.  I guess for their sake, I hope it works out.

I know that Sear’s main customer segment is middle to older aged individuals, but as long as Sears has Christmas decorations in July, I will not be spending any money there.  I just am not ready to hear Winter Wonder Land played yet.

Happy Holidays Sears!

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