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U.S. retailers expect Easter sales over 16 bln USD

(Xinhua)

08:12, March 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Americans were expected to spend 16.8 billion U.S. dollars for Easter, a widely celebrated religious festival in the United States, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the world's leading retail trade association.

American consumers would shell out an average of 145.28 dollars on everything from apparel and candy to food and decorations this year, up 11 percent from 131.04 dollars last year, said the survey commission by National Retail Federation (NRF), who represents retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad.

"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," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

According to the survey conducted by BIGinsight, those celebrating Easter had a hefty appetite for candy and new spring clothes. Nearly half (48.5 percent) would 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 dollars. Most (89.3 percent) would run straight to the candy aisle, shelling out more than 2 billion dollars on traditional favorites such as chocolate eggs and jelly beans. The average person will spend 26.11 dollars on apparel, up from 21.51 last year and 20.35 dollars on candy, up from 18.55 last year.

Americans were also set to fork over more on their Easter meals with the average person expected to spend 44.34 dollars, up from 40.05 dollars last year for a total of 5.1 billion dollars. Additionally, consumers would spend an average of 20.57 dollars on gifts for their friends and family, 10.50 dollars on flowers and 9. 07 dollars on decorations for their home and office. Half (53.6 percent) will buy greeting cards, spending an average of 7.04 dollars.

"Beautiful weather conditions coupled with a slight lift in consumer confidence will likely be a boon to the Easter holiday this year as consumers begin to seek out new spring merchandise for their home or garden, and even their wardrobe," said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow.

Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments. Contributing 2.5 trillion dollars to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the U.S. economy. Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon following the northern hemisphere's vernal equinox, and falls on April 8 this year. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.

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