One of Croydon’s Conservative councillors wants to stop the town’s retailers from starting their Christmas sales campaigns too early.
Ashburton councillor Adam Kellett put forward his own forthright views in a question to the council leader Mike Fisher at the Town Hall this week.
“I do have concerns about how early some stores attempt to persuade us that the festive season has started,” Kellett said in a written question.
Retail is a major employer in the town, so such an attack by a Conservative councillor seems unfortunate.
As if Croydon’s retailers had not had enough of the lack of support from Croydon Council this year, with Allders shutting up shop and major employers leaving the town, taking their employees’ spend in the local economy with them, Kellett has condemned local retailers for summoning up the spirit of Christmas too early as they try to boost sales.
Kellett, who works as a black cab driver, is clearly not from the free market wing of the Tory party. He works in a heavily regulated business where entry to the trade is strictly restricted. He also is now turning very critical of the wheeling and dealing of Croydon’s retail economy.
If anyone is still lacking an Ebenezer Scrooge for their Christmas Carol production, then maybe Kellett’s your man. Or maybe those early Christmas shoppers have not been tipping their taxi driver generously enough at the end of their journey. Bah humbug!
Kellett said his concern was for the shops dusting off their holly decorations by early November, and that “the solemnity of Remembrance Day sits awkwardly with premature Christmas celebrations” .
Fisher was unable to offer any real hope for a strict restriction on when the retailers of Croydon can start their Christmas sales campaigns. “Our influence in when the commercial sector begins its Christmas campaigns is somewhat limited,” Fisher replied, with a hitherto unseen touch of witty understatement.
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There is, or was, a long-standing tradition in Croydon of not starting Christmas celebrations until we have paid our annual respects to the dead of war and other conflicts. In practice that means the lights and decorations don’t materialise until the week after Remembrance Sunday.
Retailers then have at least six weeks to part us from our cash – more than two months if you include the January sales period too.
We are conditioned by years of habit to buy at that time. If retailers can’t cash in on the festive schmaltz to generate a sales bonanza, they should find another way of making a living.