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Early Holiday Shopping; Microsoft's New Stores; Eddie Bauer Update (Wednesday's News & Notes)

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There have been a handful of reports about the back-to-school shopping season seemingly starting early. Here's an example of a local news broadcast on that topic.

However, that's nothing compared to what some retailers are doing. The Washington Post has a piece today about some retailers getting the holiday shopping season going.

A small display of snow-topped villages and ornaments sits nestled between the mattress and hardware departments at the Sears store in Manassas. Next week, Toys R Us stores in the area are inviting children to decorate Christmas cards and slurp away on candy canes while their parents shop Christmas sales.

Yes, it's July, but some stores have decided that to get ahead of the poor economy they need to start now on the holiday shopping season.

The holiday shopping season seems to eat up a larger and larger percentage of the calendar each year. It's no longer November through early January. Two years ago, retailers started the holiday shopping season in October. Last year, it started even earlier with retailers beginning their marketing efforts in September. Now we've truly got Christmas in July. Amazing.

Here are some other news and notes on retail and retail real estate from around the Web today.

  • According to Supermarket News, Food Lion is joining the green parade. The company is planning a LEED-certified store in South Carolina. It will be the first LEED-certified grocery store in the state.
  • Microsoft continues to move ahead with its plan to open brick-and-mortar stores. CNET tells us the first locations will open this fall. It originally announced its intentions in February. There's a nice video below that illustrates the concept.
    • The New York Times looked at how luxury stores have started discount advertising, creating competition between chains you'd never previously lump together. For example, Saks and Neiman Marcus now have ads that put them in the same league as Daffy's.
    • The New York Post had an update on Eddie Bauer's plight. Liquidation may be possible for the chain. "Monarch Alternative Capital and Anchorage Advisors -- a pair of New York hedge funds that together control Eddie Bauer's $200 million in debt -- aim to convert Eddie Bauer into a Web-based business to sell outdoor clothing and other licensed products, sources told The Post."
    • Target is now backing up Wal-Mart's position on health care.
    • H&M is showing some weakness. Same-store sales fell 5 percent in June compared to a 2 percent drop in the same period last year.
    • The Wall Street Journal looked at what the crisis at Opus means for other private developers.
    • There are two good pieces from our sister publication NREI as well. A column from W. Joseph Caton looks at potential buyers of distressed debt. Another piece looks at how property managers are fighting to keep tenants.

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    Elaine Misonzhnik

    Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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