Lehigh Valley

It's looking like Christmas in Lehigh Valley stores

Stores say it's never too soon.

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. - It's not even November yet, but stores around the Lehigh Valley are already gearing up for the holiday season and many analysts are expecting a big year.

"For us, it's all in the planning process," said Greg Kloss, store manager of the Bon-Ton in the Westgate Mall.

It looks like Christmas right now in Kloss' Bon-Ton, with trees, wreaths, presents and other decorations dotting the store.

"We start in August, and then our setups begin in September, and we're wrapping them up right now to be ready for next week."

That's when they have a "community day", and kick off holiday shopping season.

Bon-Ton isn't alone, with a laundry list of local stores including JCPenney, Lowe's, and Michaels putting up Christmas displays.

It's expected to be a strong retail year in the United States, with holiday sales 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent higher than last year, depending on which expert you ask.

"We are ready. We're 100 percent ready right now," said Kloss.

The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley is getting ready too, says Marketing Coordinator Jennifer Mitchell.

"It's begun. It's begun, yes," she said.

While the holiday decorations are still subtle, they've started the process of preparing the outdoor mall, mostly hanging banners and gearing up for the infamous day that things get intense.

"Black Friday," she said with a laugh. "I think that's sort of the big kickoff."

Then Saturday, November 25, they have their Christmas tree lighting, and it's off to the races.

While it may be true that a big season is coming, you wouldn't know it from a sample of shoppers in the Lehigh Valley.

Not one who spoke to 69 News had even started their holiday shopping.

In the end, people may complain and say it's too early to think about Christmas.

But don't necessarily blame the stores; this is a case of market forces at work.

"The second we put it out, Christmas will sell. Period," said Kloss emphatically. "No matter when."
 


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