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Stores prepping for holidays… already

christmas-decorations

After sluggish sales over the summer, those same retailers are hoping for a lot more consumer spending around the holidays.

Even though it’s still September, they’re getting ready now to get a piece of your Christmas shopping dollars.

Teachers around the country may still be welcoming back children to new classrooms but retailers are already wishing shoppers “happy holidays.”

They have started rolling out promotions including layaway, hot toy lists and early bird shopping discounts.

Kmart began it’s no fee layaway program this week for purchases online or in store through Nov. 23.

Walmart also kicks off its holiday layaway program and this year there’s no fee to open the account.

The world’s largest retailer is also releasing its top toy picks just as Toys R Us did on Thursday.

Toys R Us is also offering cash rewards on some toy purchases through Oct. 31.

To bring shoppers back for holiday, those cash-back earnings come in the form of e-gift cards to be redeemed in November.

“Retailers are getting a lot smarter about their inventories,” Mike Moriarty with A.T. Kearney said. “In 2008, 09, 10 they ended up with way too much inventory. “This year they are protecting themselves by starting early, figuring out what the consumer wants and doing layaway plans.”

While many retailers say Christmas in September comes from consumer demand.

However, it’s hard to find shoppers to echo the sentiment.

“I think it’s terrible; I’ve always hated that,” one shopper said. “I wish they’d wait ‘til after thanksgiving.”

Consumers have gotten savvier, often diving for door busters early on.

Then they wait to take advantage of retailers’ desperation and the subsequent deeper discounts the closer it gets to Christmas.

At a retail conference in New York City this week, Express CEO Michael Weiss said, “What we’re finding is the important times of the year are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and the unimportant times of the year are getting less and less significant.”

As retailers fight for foot traffic, the promotions get bigger which is good news for consumers checking off their holiday lists in September.

Remember, retailers will reveal much more about their plans for holiday deals in the coming weeks, including their programs for the all-important Black Friday.