Summer is over - retailers put Christmas cards on the shelves

Big-name retailers are already putting Christmas cards on the shelves, even though the country is still in the middle of summer.

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Clintons is just one high street name which at the start of the month decided to get the countdown to festive period under way, even as the country was still basking in a heatwave.

While the UK's recent battering by the remnants of Hurricane Bertha may have brought an unwelcome reminder of autumnal chills, shoppers could still be forgiven for thinking Christmas has come a little early.

However, at the card retailer's store in the Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull, West Midlands, the move has clearly struck a chord with some buyers.

Assistant store manager Latoya Woodburn said customers had been spending up to £100 a week in the fortnight since the shop's 8ft (2.4m) sale display had gone up.

Cards are not the only festive-themed wares, with winter wonderland wrapping paper and tree decorations, some featuring Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer also up for grabs.

Ms Woodburn said some customers had told staff it was too early, but the till receipts showed there was clearly a market despite December 25 being nearly four months away.

She said: "It's caused some reaction, but the sales are coming through the tills.

"People are coming in on a normal shop and just picking up a few Christmas cards at the same time.

"We do have some customers saying it's a bit too early, but we just smile and say 'Merry Christmas' - it's best to be prepared."

Shoppers were divided on whether it was still too soon to be thinking about sending season's greetings.

Michelle Walker, of Solihull, said she could see both sides of the argument.

"It does seem a bit soon, but if you're trying to keep your finances on track and spread the cost throughout the year, it's probably a good thing," she said.

"We haven't even got summer out of the way yet though - it's a bit difficult to understand, but then I suppose people want different things."

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