It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas despite only being September, with Christmas-themed treats already spotted on some supermarket shelves.

One Christchurch shopper spotted chocolate Santa Claus' on the shelves of a Merivale Fresh Choice yesterday, a photo sent to the Herald showed.

A Progressive Enterprises spokeswoman confirmed seasonal treats were already available in its stores.

Progressive owns Fresh Choice as well as Countdown supermarkets.


In Greenlane, thousands of chocolate Santas sold after hitting the shelves last week, she said.

"It's not unusual to see chocolate Santas on shelves at this time of the year.

"We sell millions of chocolates in the lead up to Christmas and customers seem to love them no matter the time of year.

"We will start to roll out lots of our other Christmas products over the coming months as we need to stagger the process over several months to ensure we have shelf space both in store and at the distribution centre."

The company's decision was made for the same reason they sold hot cross buns in January - "some products people just love at any time of year", the spokeswoman said.

Foodstuffs, which owns New World supermarkets, said Christmas stock didn't get sent to their stores until mid-October.

"It's then up to each store when they put it out on display. Some wait until November 1," spokeswoman Catherine Reiss said.

In January last year, upset shoppers created a protest group on Facebook asking supermarkets to stop selling Easter treats so soon after Christmas.

One woman said at the time it made the holiday season less special.

"What it's doing is taking the mystery and wonder out of these special days for our children. They won't have the same excitement that we had because it will be so normalised," she said.

"Just so very sad that the dollar is more important than keeping these days precious for the children."