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Consumers to Spend More on Easter

There may be fewer frills on Easter bonnets, but more spending on jelly beans, flavored marshmallows, and other goodies, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, which predicts consumers will spend more on Easter.

Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs

Based on the NRF survey, consumers expect to spend about $118.60 on their Easter celebrations, up from $116.59 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $13.03 billion.

While that is more than last year, the amount is still significantly less than 2007 and 2008, when consumers spent an average of about $135 on their celebrations.

Traditionally, retailers look to the Easter holiday to kick off the spring season, and entice people to spend.

"Warmer weather and special holiday promotions are the perfect mix to get people out of their homes and into stores as spring approaches," said Tracy Mullin, president of the NRF.

Once at the stores, shoppers will be focused on candy, gifts and flowers, with higher spending in each of those categories, the survey found. However, shoppers will once again be planning to spend less on buying new clothing than they did a year ago.

This survey may help spur more confidence about the retail sector. Earlier Tuesday, the International Council of Shopping Centers/Goldman Sachs retail sales index showed chain-store sales in the week ended March 13 fell 0.4 percent from the prior week. Analysts are looking to see if the week-to-week decline was a temporary slowdown or a more significant turn in the trend.

Retailers have been showing signs of momentum for several months, and they boasted strong increases in store traffic in the last two weeks of February. This means sales over the next two weeks will be important.

It is possible the drop in last week's sales was impacted by stormy weather in the Northeast, or a pause in spending as consumers prepare for spring break.

According to the NRF survey, the majority of consumers will be heading to discount stores like Walmart and Target (64.8 percent) and department stores like Macy's and JC Penney's (33.2 percent) to do their shopping.

The table shows how the spending breaks down, according to the survey.

What's in the Easter Shopping Basket?

Item
2010 Estimated Spending
2009 Estimate Spending
Candy $17.29 $16.55
Gifts $18.16 $17.30
Clothing $19.03 $19.44
Food $37.45 $37.67
Flowers $7.84 $7.55
Decorations $6.34 $5.57
Greeting Cards $6.30 $6.07
Total $118.60 $116.59
source: National Retail Federation

Retail