The Hidden Reasons Behind Early Back-To-School Sales
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Politics and Activism

The Hidden Reasons Behind Early Back-To-School Sales

Back to school sales in July? It all comes down to our good old friend: consumerism.

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The Hidden Reasons Behind Early Back-To-School Sales
Thomas Ondrey

I go to Target just about every week. It’s where I do the bulk of my weekly shopping. Like many, I love Target. When I was in my local Target on July 1, I noticed that the employees were starting to switch the summer display over to the back-to-school display. In my area, most schools have only been out of session for two or three weeks.

Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that stores push to be first and they push holidays earlier and earlier. While I was speaking with my mom a few days later, she joked that Halloween items would be out by the time I go back to school at the end of August.

I decided to look into this, and it turns out that we aren’t seeing things or making this up. Beginning with back-to-school sales, corporations try to push up the holiday shopping frenzy. They can have Christmas items out before Thanksgiving without stepping on the toes of the previous holiday. In some cases, holiday items begin even before Halloween.

Moving up the holiday shopping season is almost a race between corporations. The first to start advertising can start raking in the dough. Companies like money and that is no surprise because it is literally why they operate.

Additionally, moving up back-to-school sales can help increase profits in the third quarter. Back-to-school sales begin at the same time as the quarter does. And Halloween sales can begin towards the end of it. Rather than mashing Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas into the same quarter, there is some more breathing room.

I saw an article where it was explained that with back-to-school sales in particular, sales begin early to accompany the diverse start dates that schools have across the United States. Or to cater to the early shoppers: super-mom’s and educators. Yeah, this makes sense because uniformity is important for chain superstores. But that excuse seems lazy and well-rehearsed. The truth is that in my area, schools start during the last week of August, with many choosing to start after Labor day last year. However, I know that in warmer areas of the country, schools have tended to opt for starting towards the beginning of August.

I will point out that having items out and on sale early allows me to spend money over a long period of time, rather than buying all of my school supplies at the same time. A week later, I went back to Target and I picked up some things because I won’t be able to afford to buy everything all at once.

There are some benefits for the consumer, but I could just be falling for it. Back-to-school sales are just a component of a much larger plan. Consumers are gullible and we think we need to start Christmas shopping in September. We are really just falling for smart CEOs and creative advertising. Back-to-school sales are really just about corporations trying to get ahead: push up the holiday sales, stay ahead of the competition and maintain uniformity.
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