NRF Survey: Easter food, gift, apparel sales expected to climb

Washington, D.C. -- A report released Thursday by the National Retail Federation and conducted by BIGresearch found that spending on food, gifts and apparel is expected to increase this Easter.

According to NRF’s 2011 Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, the average consumer is expected to spend $131.04 on everything from candy to clothes -- up from last year’s $118.60, but still not quite meeting pre-recession spending levels.

Total spending on Easter-related merchandise is expected to reach $14.6 billion.

“Due to such a late holiday, Easter promotions will last all spring long,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Though lingering concerns over food and energy prices may keep shoppers from splurging, retailers are expecting consumers to stock up on apparel, home décor and of course food and candy, a good sign leading into the much busier and important months to come.”

According to the survey, candy is expected to bring in $2.1 billion in sales and food to bring in $4.5 billion in sales. The average person will spend slightly more on each than they did last year - $18.55 on candy, compared with $17.29 last year, and $40.05 on food, up from $37.45 last year.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $21.51 on Easter apparel this year, compared with $19.03 last year; total clothing spend is projected at $2.4 billion. Additionally, consumers will spend an average of $9.02 on flowers, $8.00 on decorations and $6.79 on greeting cards.

The survey also found that department (36.6%) and discount stores (62.6%) will be the most popular shopping destinations for Easter gifts this year, though specialty stores carrying flowers, jewelry and electronic merchandise will also see their share of traffic (22.4%). Others will shop at specialty clothing stores (8.1%), online (14.8%) and through a catalog (3.5%).