Easter confectionery sales were up strongly this year, according to data just released by IRI, the retail and FMCG market intelligence company. The figures from IRI’s Retail Advantage solution, which measures sales across all of the major grocery multiples, show that UK retailers had a better than expected Easter, with sales of Easter confectionery up by 8.6% during the five-week run-up to the Saturday before Easter Sunday.
Heavy promotional activity on Easter confectionery by some of the supermarkets in early March was responsible for helping drive sales up – with volumes up by 15.1% over last year. However, despite value sales reaching a peak of £111m in the final week before Easter – 5.9% up on the same week last year – IRI believes that supermarkets missed a golden opportunity to cash in to the tune of £5.2m in the final week before Easter.
“We’ve seen some reports suggesting that supermarkets were running out of eggs in the final week before Easter,” said Martin Wood, head of strategic insight – retail for IRI. “So while sales did increase in that final week, they didn’t increase as much as they had in the earlier pre-Easter period starting in early March. I would estimate that the missed opportunity was £5.2m – this is the difference between the increase in sales that occurred in the final week and the increase that would have happened if the average sales growth over the 5-week Lent period had been maintained.”
Easter, traditionally one of the sector’s biggest seasonal events, along with Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, saw the strong demand for confectionery from consumers against a backdrop of falling prices and declining value sales and volumes generally in the major supermarkets.
“What this suggests to us is that we’re seeing a resurgence of seasonal event management in retail this year, following strong Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day sales. But it’s also clear that the major supermarkets underestimated the demand for Easter and that other retailers, like convenience stores, benefitted from this. It’s reasonable to assume that they could have done a lot better this year if they hadn’t sold out of eggs.”