Early Christmas for supermarkets
Christmas has already arrived in supermarkets, with some retailers kicking off the season's promotions just days after the August bank holiday.
Packets of mince pies were on sale at selected Sainsbury's stores for 59p on September 1 - 115 days before Christmas, The Grocer magazine reported.
This week they were joined by Christmas puddings on a three-for-two deal and £5 tins of Quality Street confectionery. Decorations hit stores later this month.
Last week Tesco and Asda started selling tins of sweets such as Cadbury Heroes, Cadbury Roses, Celebrations and Quality Street on two for £10 deals.
Morrisons started rolling out its range on Monday, initially focusing on confectionery but planning to follow with biscuits, crisps, snacks and gift packs over the next few weeks.
Since September 8, Tesco has been selling two Lindt milk chocolate Santas for £2 and two of its own-label Santas for £1. It also became the first retailer to sell selection boxes this week.
David Meara, Rector of St Bride's Fleet Street and Archdeacon of London, told the magazine that stocking Christmas products so early was "to the detriment of the spirit of Christmas".
He said: "With products sold in September, by the time December comes you're totally fed up. The danger is people won't appreciate Christmas for what it is as it becomes much less fresh and thought-provoking."
Malcolm Pinkerton, from retail analysts Verdict, said: "I think consumers are still hoping the summer hasn't gone."
However a Sainsbury's spokesman said retailers were only responding to consumer demand. He said: "It helps them spread the cost of Christmas and manage their budgets."