Target's holiday sales fly color blind

  • Blog Post by:
  • January 21, 2013 - 8:09 PM




As my colleague Lee Schafer pointed out in a recent column, Target Corp. over the years has not done particularly well during the all important holiday shopping period of November and December.

Theories abound: Target does not sufficiently cut prices. Target lacks the broad selection of Amazon and Wal-Mart.

But here’s an interesting theory from retail consultant Carol Spieckerman: Target just looks too much like Christmas all year around.

Target's stores, logo, and mascot already decked out in copious amounts of red and white, which makes it hard for its Christmas decorations to stand out.

That’s not entirely implausible. Retailers always use holiday decorations and music to get people into that giving/shopping spirit.

But slapping a wreath or tinsel in a store that already looks like one giant candy cane perhaps desensitizes people to Target’s holiday charms. The retailer also traditionally does not play music at its stores.

“I wouldn’t discount it,” said retail consultant Doug Stephens. “Color changes can make a huge difference in consumer perception.”

A recent study also suggested consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with retailers’ earlier and earlier embrace of the holidays.

78 percent of American adults think stores should not play Christmas music and 75 percent think stores shouldn’t put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, according to a survey by SOASTA Inc., a cloud and mobile testing firm.

Unless Target suddenly changes its color scheme, Christmas might always come too early for its customers.

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