Christmas before Thanksgiving…supply chain risks

It is a bit unnerving to hear Christmas songs, see retailers with Christmas promotions and stores carrying Christmas merchandise! What is going on? Basically it is the fact retailers and CPG companies are trying to maximize the seasonality upswing that is Christmas. Of course that is not something we all want to be hit over the head with. But what about the supply chains? This could have another impact here as well. Retailers and the associated members of that supply chain always gear up for “Black Friday” in the United States, the Friday where retailers hope to generate enough sales to put them in the black. Yet could these earlier rounds of promotions throw off some of these historical demand patterns? Will consumers already feel some effects of being over promoted to once that day comes? What about the strategy of some retailers to start greater lay away strategies for Xmas – see Walmart.

Companies like Walmart are looking to stretch ou the strain on their inventory but hoping some consumes come in sooner to take inventory if they can hold off on the cash out (I am also sure that Walmart is happy to collect the extra $5 for the service as well as collect any interest rates that I am sure are in the fine print). I am certain that the other retailers are also interested in smoothing out the lumpiness of the season. Yet there could be an unintended consequence of driving consumers away due to promotional overload and fatigue. Maybe we should keep Christmas selling season to after Thanksgiving…it already feels too long.

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