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Christmas is coming on the high street

Perfume ads on TV, mince pies in Tesco, Ocado opening its Christmas delivery slots – it can only mean one thing: Christmas earlier than ever this year

Right, now that summer is over it’s time to think about Christmas. What do you mean, there are still more than three months to go? Ludicrous overblown perfume adverts have started to appear on TV, and last week mince pies went on sale at Tesco. Even Kate Bush annouced this week she would be releasing a Christmas album, while Ocado has been alerting customers that its yuletide grocery delivery slots will be opening soon. It’s enough to make you want to hit the sherry.

“It seems to get earlier every year,” says Mark Choueke, editor of Marketing Week. “Few of us will be relishing the idea of spending hundreds or thousands of pounds in one go at Christmas. Retailers say this is their way of giving us the opportunity to spread out the cost of Christmas. Of course, they know that we’re still going to spend shedloads of money in the week running up to 25 December.”

The Christmas period is crucial for retailers, but never more so than this year, when a handful of groups are relying on strong sales to save them from administration, and some analysts are predicting many shops will start their sales as soon as November.

Opportunities for Christmas shopping have been starting to snowball for some time now. In June, the London toy shop Hamley’s released its predictions of its top 10 toys (presumably to give parents enough time to save up for its top must-have, a £200 inflatable Dalek) and the following month, Harrods and Selfridges opened their Christmas shops – the earliest ever for both department stores. “Customers are ready to start thinking about Christmas in July,” says Geraldine James, Selfridges’ Christmas shop buying manager. “September marks a shift, as visitors from overseas return home and are replaced with local customers who start to think ahead.” © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds