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NRF expects sales to hop up this Easter

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON — While intentions aren’t always equal to results, if the National Retail Federation’s predictions are correct, consumers will be shelling out quite a bit of cash this Easter. According to NRF’s Easter spending survey, conducted by BIGinsight, Americans will spend an average of $145.28 on everything from apparel and candy to food and decorations this year, up 11% from $131.04 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $16.8 billion.

“Though the price of gas is on everyone’s mind, Easter is one of the few holidays some consumers are willing to stretch their budgets, especially because many children look forward to treats and new outfits on Easter morning,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers will make sure to offer plenty of promotions on candy, apparel, food and decorations in the coming weeks for eager holiday shoppers.”

Not surprisingly, the majority of Easter spending, according to the survey, will be on candy, with 89.3% shelling out more than $2 billion on such traditional favorites as chocolate eggs and jelly beans. The average person will spend more on these items as well: $26.11 on apparel, up from $21.51 last year, and $20.35 on candy, up from $18.55 last year. Nearly half (48.5%) will head to the stores to take advantage of retailers’ spring sales on colorful fashions and accessories, with total spending on those items expected to reach $3 billion.

Americans also are set to fork over more on their Easter meals with the average person expected to spend $44.34, up from $40.05 last year for a total $5.1 billion. Additionally, consumers will spend an average of $20.57 on gifts for their friends and family, $10.50 on flowers and $9.07 on decorations for their home and office. Half (53.6%) will buy greeting cards, spending an average of $7.04.

Though most people will shop at their local discount store (63.5%), department stores can expect a nice treat this Easter as well. Four-in-10 (42.6%) — and the highest percent in the survey’s history — will shop at a department store for gifts and other holiday merchandise. Online retailers, however, will see the biggest jump in traffic this year. Nearly 2-in-5 (18.7%) will shop online, up from 14.8% last year and just 11.1% in 2008. Others will shop at specialty stores (25.4%) such as a jeweler, electronic store or florist, or a specialty clothing store (9.7%).

Now a common shopping tool for millions of Americans, more than half (52.3%) of tablet owners celebrating Easter will use their device to research products and purchase gifts and other merchandise. Specifically, 25.7% said they will purchase something and 36.6% plan to research products and compare prices. More than one-quarter (26.3%) will look up company and store information, such as store hours and location, and 15.3% will use apps to research and purchase products. Additionally, 43.3% of smartphone owners celebrating Easter will use their mobile device to research and/or purchase items.

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Hain Celestial gears up to launch new products

BY Allison Cerra

MELVILLE, N.Y. — Hain Celestial is set to roll out 40 new products.

The products, which were on display at the Natural Products Expo West earlier this month, include additions to the company’s Arrowhead Mills, Celestial Seasonings, Earth’s Best, Health Valley, Imagine, MaraNatha and Spectrum Essentials brands.

Highlights of Hain Celestial’s product offerings included:

  • From Arrowhead Mills: organic gluten-free sprouted corn flakes made with sprouted corn, brown rice and sorghum; gluten-free quinoa Rice & Shine hot cereal made with a unique combination of quinoa flakes blended with organic brown rice grits; and Arrowhead Mills sweet potato pancake and waffle mix;

  • From Celestial Seasonings: Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape herbal tea; Sleepytime Peach herbal tea; Jammin’ Lemon Ginger herbal tea; and Sweet Harvest Pumpkin black tea;

  • From Earth’s Best: Earth’s Best organic fruit and grain puree pouches in pear apricot barley, apple peach oatmeal, banana raspberry brown rice and plum apple kamut; Earth’s Best organic Greek yogurt smoothie in banana, cherry and apple flavors; Earth’s Best organic wholesome grains jarred baby food in banana apricot barley yogurt, blueberry banana brown rice yogurt and apple peach oatmeal yogurt; Earth’s Best Crunchin’ Crackers and Crunchin Crackers Veggie and Earth’s Best organic Happy Snax in apple cinnamon and graham flavors and Happy Snax whole grain cereal snacks;

  • Health Valley: the brand’s gluten-free cafe line has introduced three new soup additions — beef noodle, vegetable quinoa and creamy chicken orzo — to its existing line of four soups;

  • Imagine: Natural Creations organic chunky style soup in seven new flavors — Italian-Style wedding, loaded baked potato, tomato bisque, savory black bean, chicken corn tortilla, hearty beef barley and chicken noodle.

  • MaraNatha: all-natural coconut butter; and

  • Spectrum Essentials: ground chia seed.

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Special K granola bars make retail debut

BY Allison Cerra

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Kellogg’s has expanded its Special K line to include granola bars.

Available in dark chocolate and chocolatey peanut butter, new Special K granola bars offer consumers managing their weight to enjoy a snack that offers great taste and nutritional benefits. Each bar touts 110 calories, 3g of fat, 4g of fiber and 4g of protein.

"Getting ready for spring and summer shouldn’t be a chore," said Mary Bush, brand director for Kellogg Wholesome Snacks. "With these new granola bars, we’re making it easier for our consumers to choose a delicious, on-the-go option that will support their weight management goals."

Special K granola bars are available at stores nationwide.

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