Retailers urging holiday shoppers to start early to limit crowd size

BOSTON — You may have noticed the holiday shopping season already underway. Retailers are urging people to shop earlier to help alleviate crowds during the last-minute rush. Inside Neatly Nested in South Boston, customers were getting a jump on the holiday rush.

“This year is different with lower inventories and shipping delays,” shopper Maggie Stuart said.

Neatly Nested’s owner, Danielle McClure, said forecasting the demand for what people will buy this holiday season has been impossible.

“We decided to just go all-in like we normally would,” McClure said.

McClure is offering a discount if you shop during off-hours during the week instead of the busy weekend hours. She said it would be designed, “to try to encourage more of a spread of the customer flow so not everyone is coming in on the weekends and after work.”

The Retailers of Massachusetts is in the middle of polling their 4,000 retailers to help forecast this shopping season. The big push has been to get people shopping earlier.

“We’re starting Black Friday way early,” said Jon Hurst, with is the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “We want consumers out there as soon as they can.”

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Package delivery companies including the U.S. Postal Service are staffing up to handle the higher volume of packages.

“I think the shipping companies are really going to be up against it,” Hurst said.

Amazon gave this statement to Boston 25 News:

“We’ve hired 175,000 new employees and announced plans to hire 100,000 more full- and part-time employees, plus 100,000 seasonal employees to supplement our current workforce.”

UPS said they will be, “helping shift package volume away from the heaviest demand shipping days, to fully utilizing weekend capacity, and aligning promotional strategies with capacity.”

Boston 25′s Robert Goulston met several shoppers more than a week before Thanksgiving who are already going at their lists.

“Today I got a little something and hopefully just do a little bit at a time,” said Maggie Stuart of South Boston.

The postal service is urging people to use their click and ship program because, with the spacing requirements in post offices, you may find yourself waiting outside if there is a line. Their program lets you print out the label at home and your postman will take it.

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