Wal-Mart: We're not afraid to say Merry Christmas

No. 1 retailer has decided to abandon its generic 'Happy Holidays' greeting in favor of 'Merry Christmas.'


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Wal-Mart has told its employees that it's OK to once again greet shoppers by saying "Merry Christmas" this holiday season instead of the generic "Happy Holidays."

CNN confirmed that Wal-Mart will announce Thursday that it plans to use the phrase "Merry Christmas" in products and around its stores this holiday season.

The announcement comes a year after religious groups such as The American Family Association and The Catholic League boycotted retailers including Wal-Mart last holiday season for excluding the word "Christmas" from products sold in stores.

"We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley told USA Today in a separate report. "We're not afraid to use the term 'Merry Christmas.' We'll use it early, and we'll use it often."

Besides resurrecting its Christmas pitch, the retailer is also determined to be the leader in this year's holiday price wars.

The November-December holiday shopping period is a critical time for merchants since it can account for as much as 50 percent of their profits and sales.

To that end, Wal-Mart was the first out of the gate to chop prices on toys and electronics much ahead of its competitors like Target (Charts), Toys 'R Us, Costco (Charts) and others.

To support its Christmas deals, the report said Wal-Mart will launch TV ads next week that trumpet "Christmas." It's changing the name of its seasonal decorations department to "The Christmas Shop" from "The Holiday Shop."

Moreover, Wal-Mart stores will play Christmas carols throughout the holiday period and about 60 percent more merchandise will be labeled as "Christmas" rather than "holiday" items, the paper said.

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.