Retailing: Don't Wait for Thanksgiving

It used to be that the Christmas season began at Thanksgiving—but it seems to be getting earlier every year. This year, Thanksgiving is late, and there are only 22 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the shortest span that can occur in the six-year cycle. Last week, with Thanksgiving still a good fortnight away, many of the nation's stores began breaking out in Christmas lights and decorations, advertising Christmas sales and scheduling extra late-shopping nights.

Christmas is serious business to the merchant—amounting to about 20% of his year's trade—and also serious business to the economy. With the economic recovery now...

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