Wal-Mart Employees Say 'Merry Christmas'

|PIC1|Following last year's Wal-Mart controversy regarding religious issues over Christmas, the corporation announced to its employees Thursday that it is OK to once again greet shoppers by saying "Merry Christmas" instead of the generic "Happy Holidays".

Controversy was sparked last year when a woman complained to Wal-Mart that the store was replacing its "Merry Christmas" greeting with "Happy Holidays".

The woman received an e-mail response from a customer service representative, reading that 'Wal-Mart is a worldwide organisation and must remain conscious of this. The majority of the world still has different practices other than 'Christmas'."

The American Family Association and The Catholic League boycotted retailers including Wal-Mart 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 traders since it can account for as much as 50 per cent of their total annual profits and sales.

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