|Walmart plans to hire 20,000 employees to fulfill online orders this holiday season|
In a previous life, I visited "CBS This Morning" to chat with Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King about how Christmas commercials are airing earlier and earlier. The reason was simple, I explained: because research showed at the time that 40 percent of Americans do at least some of their holiday shopping before Halloween — which is why, even though everybody always claims to hate it when stores put out their Christmas decorations and marketers run ads featuring Santa during October, they will continue to do so, forever and ever, amen. The beast that is retail must be fed when it is hungry, after all — and never has that been truer than in this awful year, with Covid wreaking havoc on the sector and major retailers from Neiman Marcus to Century21 going bankrupt.
As Ad Age recently reported, the Christmas-before-Halloween trend has only accelerated in 2020, with holiday promotions from retailers such as Crate & Barrel and West Elm rolling out in mid-September. Carter's, the maker of baby clothing, even pushed out an email blast with the subject line: "Last chance to get ready for the holidays." As Joel Bines, managing director and global co-leader of AlixPartners' retail practice, told the publication: "The traditional November-December holiday season definition is meaningless this year. His company projects total retail business from October to December this year to grow from 1 to 2.6 percent versus last year, when sales hit $1.1 trillion.
And if you're the kind of person who finds it depressing when stores start decorating for Christmas when the pool's still warm? Then don't stop into Walmart, where aisles and aisles of fake Christmas trees, lawn ornaments and gift-wrapping are already fully stocked. But don't be too depressed — an early Christmas might just be what we all need this year. It's certainly happy news to those struggling with unemployment and underemployment right now. As CNBC reported, Walmart aims to hire 20,000 seasonal employees to help pack and ship online purchases, the first time in five years that the big-box retailer has hired a significant number of holiday helpers.
Leave it to good old American consumerism to turn ho, ho, hum into ho, ho, hooray.