Christmas Shopping Begins

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We're still 3 weeks away from Thanksgiving but its Christmas that's on retailer's minds.

"We started our decorations a couple weeks ago, which is earlier than normal. Normally, we don't start until after Halloween at least--but we kind of got a jump start on it this year," says Marion Sanders of B. Sanfield.

If you display it, they will come. Sanders says the Christmas shopping is well underway.

"It seems like people are trying to expand the season. We've had people in here doing their Christmas shopping, and we want to give them the opportunity to see what we've got," says Sanders.

Dr. Robert Von der Ohe, professor of economics at Rockford College says every year, the Christmas shopping season starts earlier

"They try to get people out to buy and see, if you will, what the markets' going to be...And my sense this year is that demand is going to be down, and so, the question is, how quickly we start seeing the discount. This year, we'll probably start seeing the discounts almost before Thanksgiving, or at least immediately after Thanksgiving," says Von der Ohe.

Many retailer say as the cold sets in and those heating bills rise consumers may cut back on their holiday spending.

"Gas prices, and they're talking about heating bills going up so much--people are trying to space out holiday spending," says Sanders.

Von der Ohe says due to the economy, the retail industry has limited expectations for holiday sales this year. The industry, as a whole, isn't looking for a boom year, they are just trying to move the merchandise off the shelves.