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Egg, Candy Sales Expected Up for Easter

Despite rising egg prices, U.S. retail sales of eggs are expected to surpass $95 million during Easter week, according to The Nielsen Company. U.S. consumers are pegged to buy over 17 million egg-coloring/dye kits during the week leading up to the holiday, the Schaumburg, Ill.-based global information and media company predicted.

Chocolate candy is also a solid category at this time of the year, with over $318 million in sales expected during the week before Easter, second only to Valentine’s Day.

“Egg prices are projected to increase for the third consecutive year as retailers and consumers continue to struggle with higher commodity and energy costs,” said Todd Hale, s.v.p. of Consumer & Shopper Insights, Nielsen Consumer Panel Services, in a statement. “While we would expect to see some decline in the number of egg cartons sold, given price increases, we certainly don’t see consumers widely cutting back on this food staple and Easter egg decorating tradition.”

Nielsen’s analysis of supermarket sales in 52 U.S. markets revealed that shoppers in cold-weather cities, perhaps eager to shrug off winter, tend to buy more egg-coloring/dye kits during the week before Easter than consumers in other markets. For instance, consumers in Cincinnati buy 81 percent more egg-coloring/dye kits than would be expected for a market of its size, followed by residents of Buffalo/Rochester and Salt Lake City/Boise.

Other candy category findings from Nielsen include:

--$65.6 million was spent on candy advertising for the weeks from the beginning of Lent until Easter 2007, a decline of 6 percent from $69.7 million for the same holiday period in 2006. One-third of total spending ($22 million) was on cable television, while 26 percent ($16.9 million) of all candy ads were in national magazines. Network television was the third-largest medium, with $11.3 million in candy ad spending.

--Since at least 2004, candy advertising spending has been higher during the Easter season than during the weeks leading up to Halloween. For example, $61.6 million was spent on candy advertising in September and October 2007, vs. $90.8 million during March and April 2007.

The Nielsen Co. is the parent company of Progressive Grocer.

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