Wal-Mart will put "Christmas" back into the holidays this year, the retailer plans to announce Thursday.
A year after religious and other groups boycotted retailers, including Wal-Mart, for downplaying Christmas, the world's largest retail chain will have an in-your-face Christmas theme this year.
"We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year," says Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley. "We're not afraid to use the term 'Merry Christmas.' We'll use it early, and we'll use it often."
Wal-Mart told about 7,000 associates of the plans at a conference last month and "was met with rapturous applause. ... We know many of our customers will feel the same," says John Fleming, Wal-Mart's executive vice president of marketing.