Holiday shopping off to early start

FRESNO, California

Kids were quick to flock to Thanksgiving Turkey Tom at Fashion Fair Mall for a little song and dance. But many parents have noticed the holidays seem to all blend together - especially when they're out shopping.

Annmarie Hofer of Fresno said, "It seems like the stores get everything in earlier and earlier. Before Halloween is over, Thanksgiving stuff and Christmas stuff is already out."

Santa Claus gave kids a big thrill at the mall. They wanted to pass along gift ideas. Some though were a little scared, as if Santa was here too early.

Fashion Fair senior marketing manager Kelly Tallant said, "It does feel early. It's a short season this year so it's going to feel like we brought him early but we didn't and then it's going to be over the blink of an eye."

The Christmas tree at River Park in North Fresno is already decorated for the season. Fresno State marketing professor Bill Rice said retailers already want you thinking about where you'll spend your hard-earned cash.

Rice explained, "I've got to start as early as possible to create primacy in the mind of the consumer that says you come to us because we have the best deals and once you have primacy, once you have that inside your head, that's the first ladder rung that they think about when they're going to go buy."

Rice wasn't surprised more stores will open on Thanksgiving. He said shoppers will be inundated with sales long before "Black Friday." "When somebody else does it and somebody says it worked, it worked, let's go do that. Now all of the sudden you have people saying well if it worked the weekend before Thanksgiving, how about let's move it back to the 15th?"

At Fashion Fair, JC Penney, Macys and Forever 21 will all open Thanksgiving night at eight.

Tallant said, "They're trying to get their sales out there first and that's certainly what we've seen this year."

Those Thanksgiving night openings will have more people out walking off their meals but no one expects the "Black Friday" madness to ease up one bit.

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