Woolworths, Coles shoppers shocked by odd Christmas find on shelves

·News Reporter
·4-min read

Supermarket customers have used social media to share their reactions to Christmas food being released in Coles and Woolworths earlier this week, 16 weeks before Christmas.

While some have welcomed the idea of the September release of the Christmas range, others are not so impressed.

“It’s the first of September, not even Christmas or December,” a customer posted on the Coles Facebook page along with a photograph of a Christmas pudding.

Christmas pudding advertised for $7 at Coles. Use by date is in 2022. Source: Facebook
The pudding's use-by date indicates that it will last until Christmas. Source: Facebook

In the comments section many customers are pointing out that festive items are released at the same time every year, while others are defending the seemingly early release of the festive snacks.

“A lot of families can’t afford to buy it all in one go, and puddings keep for a while,” said one Facebook user.

“I start buying things in mid-September so I can avoid the delivery delays and actually enjoy Christmas,” wrote another.

“Many families work within very tight budgets and like to plan ahead for their Christmas food,” wrote a third.

Woolworths truck parked next to a Coles sign. Source: Getty Image
Both major supermarkets have been approached by customers questioning their September Christmas release. Source: Getty Images

A Woolworths customer also reached out to the retailer on Facebook, writing: “Christmas is four months away, but where are the Halloween things?"

The post was accompanied by a photo of a Christmas pudding and fruit mince pie display.

In a comment on the post a Facebook user said that based on their experience in the retail industry, there is demand for Christmas products.

“People don’t spend anywhere near as much on Halloween stuff as Christmas stuff,” they said.

“We tend to start getting such stock in around early to mid September yet sales tend to not really pick up until early October.”

Christmas items on display at Woolworths. Source: Facebook
The customer was disappointed that Halloween decorations were seemingly missed. Source: Facebook

‘Bring it on’: group’s delight as festive food released

A Facebook mother’s group has expressed their delight as Christmas food makes its way to supermarkets.

Posting a photograph of a Christmas display at her local Woolworths, a member of the Christmas Mums Facebook group, said: “Woolworths has started.”

Group members could not contain their excitement at the appearance of the festive snacks, commenting that they can’t wait to pick some up for themselves.

“I’m not mad about this, we could all use something to look forward to,” said one group member.

“I’m going to need bigger pants,” joked another.

“Bring it on!” wrote a third.

Surprising reason why Christmas stock hits shelves in September

A consumer and supermarket expert has told Yahoo News Australia that there are two major reasons why Christmas food is released in September.

Speaking to Yahoo News, Marketing and Consumer Behaviour expert Professor Gary Mortimer said that the first reason pertains to marketing psychology, specifically signalling theory.

“If you put the product in front of people for a long period of time and expose them to the product, they’ll know where to find the products when they want them,” he said.

Woolworths display of fruit mince pies and Christmas puddings. Source: Facebook
Posts in a mother's group said supermarket Christmas displays give people something good to look forward to. Source: Facebook

Prof Mortimer said that the second reason behind the September release of Christmas goods relates to operational reasons.

“Warehouses are full of Christmas inspired products and we want them out of warehouses and into air-conditioned supermarkets and department stores,” he said.

“When demand for these products starts, it comes on quickly and retailers want to be ready.”

When asked about revenue-related reasons for the early release of these products, Prof Mortimer said he doesn’t believe that is the case.

“It’s not a ploy to get people to buy more Christmas stuff because no one’s really buying it right now,” he said.

“Once those seasonal areas clear out of Father's Day merchandise, retailers have an empty space and they’ve got to fill it with something.”

He said that these theories also explain why hot cross buns are commonly released right after Christmas, adding that he is predicting to see hot cross buns in supermarkets by Christmas Eve.

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