Easter Survey: No Bounce For Stores This Year

Easter BunnyConsumers are planning to cut back this Easter. A new survey from the National Retail Federation predicts that Americans will spend an average of $116.59 on celebrating, down from an average of $135.03 last year. Total holiday spending should come in around $12.73 billion, but Easter dinner will be a pared-back affair, with consumers spending about $37.67 for the meal, compared to $41.09 last year.


Easter flowers will bloom less brightly, with spending falling from $9.11 to $7.55. And, alas, Americans seem to believe they will consume less than the usual 16 billion jelly beans sold annually, and say they will cut spending on candy to $16.55--down from $18.12 in 2008.

The NRF study, conducted by BIGresearch, also reports a decline in gift spending--falling from last year's $21.42 to $17.30. And despite Easter arriving three weeks later this year than last, fewer shoppers think they will buy clothes, and those who do plan to spend less-- just $19.44, down from $23.82 last year.



Still, the trade association is hopeful that warmer weather will present an opportunity to change shoppers' minds.

"With Easter falling so late this year, retailers will have plenty of time to entice shoppers with deals on spring apparel and other Easter merchandise," the NRF says in its release. "Retailers are hopeful that a late Easter will bring warmer weather and put shoppers in the mood to buy clothing, flowers and other holiday gifts." Since many view Easter as the official kick-off to spring, "a later holiday could mean people will take advantage of retailers' Easter promotions as a way to spruce up their spring wardrobe."

Some are at it already. The Children's Place, for example, is already offering online markdowns on dressy spring clothes in a "Hop to it" event, while's kids' page boasts "Fabulous fashion finds under $20."

Clothing retailers are not the only ones who could use a boost: Candy sales have been in trouble, with the National Confectioners Association reporting a 3.1% decline in confectionery sales for the Christmas 2008 season.

Traditionally, Easter is the second-biggest holiday of the year, beaten out only by Halloween, and the NCA says some 88% of adults give kids Easter baskets with candy. Peeps, for example--the best-selling non-chocolate Easter candy--is introducing new Chocolate Mousse Flavored Bunnies in time for the holiday.

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