It is beginning to look a lot more like Christmas at Wal-Mart.
This holiday season, Wal-Mart isn’t trumpeting big bargains only. It’s also bringing “Christmas” back into its marketing, after several years of playing down the term.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Christmas cheer seems to be a hot trend this season as several other retailers including Kohl’s Corp. and Macy’s, a division of Federated Department Stores Inc., are also stepping up their Christmas marketing. The moves respond to mounting criticism from religious groups that staged boycotts against Wal-Mart and other merchants after they eliminated or de-emphasized “Christmas” in their advertising.
“We learned a lesson from that. Merry Christmas is now part of the vocabulary here at Wal-Mart,” said Linda Blakley, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will launch its first Christmas-specific TV ad in several years, feature Christmas shops, previously called Holiday Shops, and increase the number of seasonal merchandise labeled “Christmas” instead of “holiday” by 60 percent.
Macy’s is adding Christmas signage in all of its department stores and Kohl’s is playing up Christmas this year in its TV, print and radio advertising, according to Vicki Shamion, a Kohl’s spokeswoman.
Still, not everyone is following suit.
“We are going to continue to use the term holiday because there are several holidays throughout that time period, and we certainly need to be respectful of all of them,” said Dawn Bryant, a spokeswoman at Best Buy Co. Inc., whose advertising omits any reference to Christmas.