-- Summer lovers still wearing bathing suits and white, enjoying long sunny days and squeezing the last ounces out of their favorite season before Labor Day, may not want to linger for long at a Sam’s Club in the Tampa Bay area.
Visitors to that Brandon, Fla., store are met nearly at the door by a prominent display of Christmas trees, lights and more.
“We put up our display up on Thursday or Friday of last week,” Brandon store manager Steve Tycoliz told ABC News today. “This is earlier than last year, but we’ve had it up as early as July before.”
Tycoliz, a 24-year veteran of the retail chain that is owned by Walmart, says that all of Sam’s Club’s 600-plus stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico are expected to be “fully outfitted” for the holiday season by mid-September.
The Brandon store’s display went up last week because there was room on the display floor and Tycoliz knew his store’s clientele, mostly businesses, would appreciate the early shopping opportunity.
“They expect us to have the merchandise out in front because they have to decorate their businesses and they have to look at how they’re going to budget for gifts for their employees,” Tycoliz said. “We had room for it because we had sold out of a lot of our patio items and, rather than wait, we just went ahead and put it up.”
Though walking in from the heat of summer to the sight of Christmas trees may be a bit jarring for Floridian shoppers, Tycoliz says the feedback from his customers has been more shock than anger.
“They’re more just like, ‘Wow, it is right around the corner again,’” he said of Sam’s Club members. “I haven’t received any negative comments.”
“The merchandise is selling,” he said.
As of today, there are 124 days until Christmas.