Dick's Embraces Christmas

Retailer Changes 'Holiday Shop' to 'Christmas Shop'; AFA Cancels Boycott

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Holiday doesn't stand a chance.

Over the weekend, "Christmas" won yet another battle in the War on Christmas. Dick's Sporting Goods became the latest to throw in the towel on "Holiday," in the face of a boycott by the American Family Association. Retailers across the country have been embracing "Christmas," as opposed to "Holiday," under pressure from consumers, media and groups such as the AFA and the Catholic League.

The boycott, announced last Thursday, asked the AFA's 2.3 million supporters to shun Dick's Sporting Goods for its use of "Holiday" rather than "Christmas."

"In our research of the Top 100 retailers in America, Dick's advertising is likely the most 'anti-Christmas' of all," read the alert sent out to AFA supporters. "Sure, Dick's wants you to buy their products, but no retailer in the nation has appeared to go out of its way to snub 'Christmas' more than Dick's."

Dick's Sporting Goods responded swiftly, with Vice Chairman Bill Columbo telling the AFA that changes were already under way in the retailer's marketing prior to the boycott. "We have made significant changes from past years, when 'holiday' was the dominant theme of our advertising," Mr. Columbo said, according to a statement from the group.

He went on to say that "Christmas" would become a major part of the retailer's advertising, beginning Sunday, Nov. 28. According to the statement, circulars and TV spots will be using the word "Christmas." The retailer's online "Holiday Shop" has also morphed into a "Christmas Shop."

Mr. Columbo did not immediately return a call seeking further comment.

As a result of Dick's response, AFA canceled its boycott. Left on the group's "Naughty" list: Barnes & Noble, CVS, Office Depot, RadioShack, Staples, Supervalu and Victoria's Secret. Stay tuned to see which buckles under the pressure next.

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