It's Christmas in September at The Bay
Retailer setting up holiday display
By Sean Fitzgerald , 24 Hrs
First posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 08:25 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10:24 PM EDT
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
If you walk through the Hudson’s Bay flagship location at Yonge St. and Queen. St. W., it might start feeling like Christmas in September. Even though people are still wearing T-shirts outside, the store has started to set up its Christmas Street display on its basement level.
When 24 Hours visited the display on Wednesday, Bay customers gave a variety of reactions to the Yuletide visuals – from “C’mon, it’s only September!” to more appreciative comments.
“This is beautiful,” said Reta Setrak, admiring the wintery setup. “I’m sending a photo to my friend. I wait for this every year.”
To be fair, only a few tables actually featured festive products for sale, including ornaments, candles and nutcrackers.
“It’s nice to see the excitement starting for Christmas, but I definitely think it’s a bit early,” said Amanda Wouters, browsing the selection of ornaments.
A Bay employee that didn’t want to be named told 24 Hours that setting up Christmas Street involves an epic planning process, and that he’s already started thinking about Christmas 2017.
The 2016 display has been up since at least Sept. 12, when Toronto writer Glenn Sumi tweeted, “The @hudsonsbay Xmas displays seem to go up earlier every year.”
A spokesperson for Hudson’s Bay says that there’s definitely a demand for the indoor winter wonderland.
“Each year, we receive incredible feedback from customers who look forward to our renowned Christmas Street holiday shopping destination and highly-anticipated displays,” the spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to 24 Hours. “With the important holiday season approaching, and many customers excited for the opportunity to begin their holiday planning and shopping early, we are happy to provide them with an exceptional selection of holiday and winter décor and gift items.”
Now that the back-to-school season is finished, retailers are trying to stay competitive and are looking ahead to Christmas, says a Toronto-based marketing expert.
“This competitive environment has been moving things earlier and earlier,” says David Soberman, a marketing professor at the Rotman School of Management. “I personally think it’s a bit on the early side, but marketing is not about what you like or about what I like – it’s about different segments. And there are people that like doing stuff early.
“The Bay has been around for a while. And often companies like that tend to do things when there’s a reason to do things.”
Representatives from Walmart and Costco didn’t respond to interview requests by our deadline.
Mary Muszak, owner of Christmas on the Beach - Home, a Toronto-based online retailer specializing in holiday products, says that she’s starting to receive a number of orders for festive merchandise.
“A lot of people like to get things early, before the mad rush with deliveries,” she says. “Of course, then there are people that just love Christmas.”
Hudson's Bay has started setting up Christmas Street at its flagship location at Yonge St. and Queen St. W. in Toronto. (Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun)

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