From department stores to discounters, sales remained on a downward trend for retailers last month, more than a year and a half into the recession. . . .More from the Chicago Tribune:
Some retailers are even starting to promote Christmas in hopes of getting consumers in more of a buying mood. Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) on Sunday opened Christmas shops in 372 Sears stores and also set up Christmas Lane boutiques at Sears.com and Kmart.com. (Emphasis added.)
On Sunday, while most of America was recovering from Fourth of July fireworks and cookouts, [Sears] launched an online boutique called Christmas Lane at Sears.com and Kmart.com. It also set up Christmas decor shops at 372 Sears stores . . .More economic doom and gloom at NTCNews.com.
Sears typically waits until Nov. 1 to unveil its holiday merchandise, said Sears spokeswoman Natalie Norris-Howser. But with the recession putting a crimp in spending, the retailer is hoping to attract holiday shoppers early.
"This is the first year we've done the Christmas Lane event," said Norris-Howser. "We're allowing customers to put these items on layaway and pay over time." . . .
Last year, worried about a slowdown in consumer spending, many merchants, including Home Depot, Kohl's and Walgreens, began stocking their shelves with holiday wrapping paper, trim and trees in September.
The phenomenon, known as Christmas creep, is expected to kick into overdrive this year as retailers fight for their share of shoppers' shrinking pocketbooks.