In a recent "Nancy" comic strip, the ever hot and fashion-conscious Aunt Fritzi oohed and aahed because spring outerwear had arrived in stores. She´s right, of course. Combine that fact with the weather and the calendar, and it follows that retailers are about to hit a trifecta.
First, with just a few shopping days left until Easter, shoppers should be out buying bunnies and chocolate eggs. Add to that this year´s late Easter date — April 16 — and retailers also are poised to reap the profits of shoppers buying Easter merchandise at the same time that — buoyed by warmer temperatures — they find themselves in the mood for all things springlike.
"I think Easter is the launching ground for spring spending, in general," says Brenda Gilpatrick, president of Your Fantastic Plastic, a company that teaches retailers how to leverage the gift card market. Gilpatrick says consumer spending is influenced by the weather — and when the weather warms up, spring buying begins.
If you think about it, notes Kathy Grannis of the National Retail Federation (NRF), it´s warm enough in most parts of the country now that if shoppers go out and buy a spring blouse or even a pair of sandals, they can actually wear them, and that´s a big motivator.
So, Grannis says, catchy Easter window displays should lure shoppers into the stores where they certainly will buy traditional Easter merchandise, but where the pastels that signal springtime buying should also tempt them to more general seasonal purchases.
The really great news for retailers is the NRF´s projection that — because of Easter´s late arrival — holiday spending will hit $12.63 billion this year, a really big bunny hop from the $9.6 billion spent last year. Reduced down to individual pocketbooks, the average shopper expects to spend $121.72 on Easter 2006, up from $96.51 in 2005.
Next, we examine what will shoppers expect to buy with that $121.72.