We sell more than snow shovels

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Christmas at Home Depot and Lowe's once consisted of selling live trees in the parking lot and making room in already-crammed aisles for some outdoor lights. But amid a housing slump analysts predict could hammer sales in the home-improvement sector, the rivals are running national TV campaigns touting everything from garland to inflatable snowmen.

Home Depot, the nation's No. 2 retailer, is doubling the floor space devoted to everything from ornaments to reindeer yard stakes and quadrupling holiday-theme merchandise. "This is part of our strategy to be the authority for everything in the home," said Roger Adams, chief marketing officer.

With the merchandise already stocked at the chain's 2,109 locations, the 8-foot-tall inflatable Santa Claus donning sunglasses and riding a motorcycle is flying out the doors for $79.99. "It's just a funky thing, who knew?" said Mr. Adams. "I'm really surprised how well this is selling."

It's also upping its TV outlay by 25% for its holiday campaign, via the Richards Group, Dallas with four TV spots focused for the first time almost exclusively on holiday decorations, not the typical DIY fare.

Lowe's, which is running spots from BBDO, New York, featuring a woman asking a Lowe's associate where to find garland and a litany of other Christmas items, declined to comment.
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