Grocery stores try to scare up profits with Halloween candy sales in July

Statewide Iowa — How early is too early? The 4th of July was just a few weeks ago, yet some Iowa grocery stores are already offering spooky Halloween decorations and big bags of trick-or-treat candy. Professor Peggy Stover, who directs the University of Iowa’s Marketing Institute and spent 25 years in the grocery industry, says stores are looking for any angle they can find to scare up profits.

Back-to-school sales started at some Iowa retailers in June, and Stover says she wouldn’t be too surprised if we saw Christmas ornaments appear on the shelves in August.

Some people might buy Christmas gifts early and hide them until December, but Stover says nobody’s buying Halloween candy in July who’s intent on saving it until October.

Consumers may be mystified when they run across holiday items so far out of context, but she doubts few would actually file a complaint with the manager, not that it would likely have much impact — or would it?

She says the best way for Iowans to send a message about Halloween in July sales is to resist buying the products.