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The Associated Press reports that when it comes to being devastated by heightened competition delivered by big box stores, roadside Christmas tree vendors are joining the real world.

The National Christmas Tree Association says that last year, 17 percent of Christmas tree sales were at chain stores, such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's and Target. A year earlier, these big box stores sold 14 percent of the nation’s Christmas trees.

Wal-Mart sells Christmas trees at almost 1,800 stores nationwide, as well as on its website. Home Depot sells trees at all of its 1,400 stores, and the holiday trees also are being sold at mainstream supermarkets as well as at the big box chains.

The big problem for the smaller retailers: the big chains use Christmas trees as a loss leader.
KC's View:
Welcome to the real world.

Next thing you know, Wal-Mart will be looking for a way to put Santa Claus out of business...if it hasn't already done so.

We bought our tree this year at Stew Leonard’s, which sells some 35,000 trees every year, and has turned the holidays into an enormous marketing opportunity.

It never occurred to us as we were buying the tree that we were contributing to the demise of a time-honored tradition of small entrepreneurism.

Though we find it almost more alarming to learn that a bigger concern to the industry is the increase in sales of artificial trees, which outnumber real trees almost two-to-one.

For us, at least, a fake tree just doesn’t do it.