Starbucks Kicks Off the Christmas Season in March

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Starbucks ( SBUX) has already announced its big offering for the Christmas season.

No, Starbucks isn't releasing its holiday beverages several months early, but the company did announce Thursday its entry into the single-cup coffee machine business -- an espresso machine called the Verismo -- and made special note of the fact it will be marketed as a Christmas gift.
Starbucks is already talking about its offering for the Christmas season, and it's not even Easter.

"Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, Verismo system by Starbucks will be sold online and at select Starbucks retail stores, as well as specialty retailers across the U.S., Canada, and in select international markets," says the company in the press release.

Now, we suppose there are some good reasons Starbucks would want to drop news right now about a product that won't be coming out until the fall. Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ( GMCR), which makes the Keurig coffee system, plummeted 18% today on the news, while Starbucks' shares rose 2.4% in the same period. Clearly, there was some payoff for the coffee giant to release the news as early as possible.

Still, are we really at the point where companies are going to start announcing their hot Christmas products when we're barely out of February? Cadbury Creme Eggs are being sold in drugstores right now and some procrastinators still have their lights up from Christmas 2011, so we doubt Christmas 2012 is on anyone's mind right now. Maybe it makes sense from a business perspective, but seeing Starbucks talking about Christmas gifts in early March raises the prospect that it's poised to become an all-year holiday.

We've already seen Black Friday creep into Thanksgiving day at many of the nation's biggest retailers, and the Starbucks announcement is an early sign that Christmas is continuing to morph into a holiday for all seasons.

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