Easter is early this year (March 27), which means that you have only a few weeks to sell holiday goods.  Although I may be a bit late with this advice, it also means that you should order less Easter merchandise. You’d think that the date wouldn’t matter much (after all, the Easter bunny has just as many baskets to fill as when the holiday is in late April), but we have always found sales to be softer when Easter is in March. The same phenomenon happens when Hanukah is in November.

It should come as no surprise that Easter is the third most important decorating holiday in the US (there basically are only three holidays that people buy decor for: Christmas, Halloween and Easter).  But in some parts of the country Easter is considered predominantly a religious occasion, without as much demand for cute bunnies and chicks as elsewhere. This is yet another example of why it helps to work with a sales rep who knows your market.

Midwest shoppers will often buy a few decor items along with gifts for children’s baskets. Many families decorate and hide Easter eggs, and get together for a festive dinner that may call for a special seasonal table setting. And don’t forget the candy! According to U.S. News and World Report, Americans were expected last year to spend over $16 billion on multicolored plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies, marshmallow Peeps and other holiday staples.

But even in our area, there is a limit to how many egg ornaments and handled baskets we can sell. To expand our offerings for Easter we think of it as a celebration of spring as well. The floral motif on many of these products transfers well into our garden area once Easter is over.  Even if you don’t sell holiday merchandise, don’t overlook the opportunity to give your store a fresh look with some seasonal items.  Change helps bring customers back often, and gives you the opportunity to show off merchandise that has recently arrived. 

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder