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After One Last Blast of Winter, Retailers Look Ahead to a Happy Easter

Although not quite the apparel-buying “eggs-travaganza” it was years ago, Easter is still a key milestone on the retail calendar each year. Coinciding with school vacations and trips to warmer climes, the week leading up to the holiday drives significant consumer purchases of both casual and dressy apparel, as well as sandals, spring accessories and suncare products.

Despite the relatively early occurrence of Easter this year, retailers are ready. The warmth over the last few weeks has resulted in many consumers thinking and purchasing spring. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average shopper is expected to spend more than $146 on Easter this year, 5.5% more than last year, representing a record total spend of $17.3 billion.

“Shoppers will find promotions on a number of items on their lists, from Easter baskets to sports equipment, home goods, garden tools and more,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. The NRF expects the largest spend this year to be on food, followed by spring apparel.

Although spring officially arrives this year on Sunday, Mar. 20, Old Man Winter is expected to pay one last visit to those in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic this coming weekend. According to weather analytics firm Planalytics, cold rain and snow threaten portions of those regions on Sunday and Monday. Though exact snowfall totals depend on the track of the storm, major markets along the I-95 corridor from Baltimore to Boston can expect some frozen precipitation.

However, as we move into the week before Easter (which falls on Sunday, Mar. 27), the weather and consumer mindset will quickly shift back to spring conditions.

Regions throughout North America can expect above normal temperatures, with the warmest along the West Coast and from the Plains to the East Coast. The warming conditions during the Easter run-up period will help drive demand for seasonal apparel. Western markets can expect strong gains for warm-weather apparel, accessories, footwear and suncare products. Portions of the Northeast can anticipate increases for similar items as well.

Last year, the run-up week to Easter week (Mar. 29-Apr. 4) in the U.S. and Canada was the warmest since 2012, with below normal rain.