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Catholic spokesperson urges retailer restraint on early Christmas

Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne spokeswoman Geraldine Capp has criticised this year's early roll out of Christmas in the city's retail stores.

Safeway and Coles began stocking tree trimmings, wrapping paper, bonbons and cards in Melbourne supermarkets from early this month. Major department stores plan to roll out decorations in the next two weeks.

Ms Capp said September is remarkably early for the commercial blitz to begin.

"Bringing the Christmas season into people's consciousness so early seems to be out of step with community expectations," Ms Capp said. "Perhaps this year we could all show some restraint and modesty in regard to Christmas shopping so the celebration is put in its correct perspective."

Melbourne Wesley Uniting Church minister the Reverend Jason Kioa feared filling shelves with Christmas items too early could compound suffering for people who felt lonely at Christmas or were struggling financially.

Coles sparked a religious outcry earlier this year when hot cross buns were offered in January -- barely after Christmas and almost three months before Easter.

Christmas is the retail industry's biggest money spinner. Almost $6 billion is expected to be spent on presents, food, decorations and other accessories across the nation this season.

Coles spokeswoman Lisa Farrelly said the decision to sell a small number of Christmas products so early was a response to customer demand.


19 Sep 2002