Wal-Mart is bringing Santas back to its stores in bid to lure Christmas shoppers

NEW YORK: Two years ago, Wal-Mart Stores substituted the word “holiday” for Christmas references and encouraged store greeters to do the same, in line with other retailers’ removal of “Christmas” from advertising and stores.

Now, after criticism from religious groups, Wal-Mart is getting back in the Christmas spirit. For the first time, the retailer is bringing Santas into its 3,407 stores. And, following an experiment at a few locations last year, the retailer has set up a “Christmas Shop” in each of its 1,500 outlets with garden centers.

“This is still a nation where the majority of the people consider themselves Christian,” said Patricia Edwards, a portfolio manager in Seattle at Wentworth, Hauser & Violich.

Last month, Lowe’s, a home improvement chain based in Mooresville, North Carolina, apologized for referring to “Family Trees” instead of Christmas trees in a catalog.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/09/bloomberg/bxsanta.php

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