Did you know that Easter can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25? That range of dates can impact the sale of seasonal merchandise, although you’d think that the Easter rabbit would make about the same number of stops whenever he’s hoppin’ down the bunny trail. Analysts at Deutsche Bank explained it this way: “we think if Easter is later, there is more anticipation, more opportunities to make incremental purchases, and probably better weather to foster more Easter related activity.”

Still, an impressive 66% of parents will make Easter baskets for their children this year, according to WalletHub, and 85% of them will include candy. The same article goes on to mention that the most popular items are chocolate bunnies and eggs, and other candies (think Peeps & jelly beans). The vast majority of families also dye eggs and hold an Easter egg hunt.

Unless you carry chocolate, or egg decorating supplies, you will need to be creative to promote Easter sales at your store.  Seasonal decor may be an option, especially if items to create a memorable tablescape for Easter dinner work with your merchandise assortment.  Special napkins, pastel candles, ceramic bunnies, colorful eggs and vibrant flowers are all elements that customers might find useful in creating a themed setting for a family gathering. An Ostereierbaum, or Easter egg tree, is a European custom you could introduce to your customers.

The biggest challenge for retailers in years when Easter falls in the first quarter is figuring out what to highlight during April. Mother’s Day isn’t until the second Sunday in May, so there can be a good month and a half between holidays. I think the best solution to this problem is to focus mostly on floral/spring merchandise for Easter, and to carry this theme through in your gifts for Mom and Grandma.  Several of the tablescapes that Southern Living shows for Easter don’t have a single bunny or chick in them – just tulips, daffodils and nests filled with natural birds’ eggs. This approach may help prevent an early Easter from scrambling your spring merchandising plans!

Happy Retailing,
Carol “Orange” Schroeder

PS There won’t be a Specialty Shop Retailing blog post next week