This year, Christmas hit retailers’ windows as early as October – and London’s Regent Street is already festively illuminated. How early in the year can retailers introduce Christmas shopping before it becomes ineffective or counter-productive?

Retailers merchandise Christmas because there is customer demand for it. Retail space is such a premium asset that no retailer could accept wasting space or money. Often a retailer’s success or failure hinges on that vital 12-week period, so you can’t blame them for wanting to get an edge. They’re all praying for a sharp cold spell – it never fails to get people shopping!

Paul King, Director, Vivid Brand (pictured)

Retailers are always trading for Christmas, by seeking to secure their authority in the customer’s mind – so that by Christmas, they are the first (and hopefully) last port of call. This is why the likes of Tesco, Selfridges or Amazon are so devastating when time or money are of the essence.

Jim Thompson, Managing director, 20/20

Is an early start to Christmas really going to influence feckless punters away from last-minute shopping? Surely our focus should be on delivering a better, easier experience, rather than a longer, more protracted one?

Matt Pickering, Design director, CRC

As soon as ‘back to school’ is over, we fast-forward through Halloween and Bonfire Night, with Christmas sneaking in between the two – no fanfare and we’re not even wearing gloves yet. What about the ‘Christmas Markets’ approach, where people come to the high street for the actual launch of collective Christmas festivity – mulled wine, fantastic service and great shopping? If not it’ll be the usual Christmas windows serving as an early wrapping paper turn-off, and stores losing out to last-minute on-line sales.

Sarah Page, Creative director, Household

For me Christmas can’t come early enough – all the shopping and sugar plums, snowmen and Santa… But Christmas in the retail world is another matter. The paradox seems to be that as our summers become longer, Christmas arrives earlier. However, irrespective of when retailers decide to deck their halls, the public aren’t mugs and will decide for themselves when they are ready to shop for Christmas. Who they decide to shop with – now that’s a different matter.

Andy Bone, Director and founding partner, Four IV (pictured)

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