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A March Easter is like a slap in the face to seasonal sales

Early Easter leads to seasonal candy lull

April 3, 2013
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Well, that was quick. It’s April 3, and Easter candy is already on clearance. Based on my official Jelly Belly calendar, that means the only holidays we have to look forward to this month are Tax Day, Earth Day, Administrative Professional Day and Arbor Day.

Candy shaped like a secretary anyone?

crystal lindell
Crystal Lindell

Of course, there’s also “National Jelly Bean Day “ April 22, but something tells me only the official Jelly Belly calendar has that one listed.

It’s a bum year for the confectionery companies. A March Easter is like a slap in the face to seasonal sales.

It was just too cold in most of the country for anyone to realize they needed to hop over to the store and buy some Peeps. In the Chicago-suburbs, where I live, it barely broke 50 for the first time the Saturday before Easter. And by the time the weather conditions sunk in and alerted everyone to the fact that the spring holiday was approaching, it was nearly too late to grab some jelly beans.


It didn’t help that so many stores were in their usual rush to transition their merchandise, and had already started taking down Easter items and replacing it with summer flip flops and plastic cups for BBQs on March 30. Seriously retailers? Give shoppers a chance to finish one holiday before you move on to the next.


I confess that I am among those who go to the stores the day before most holidays to grab everything I need for my various celebrations, but I hate being punished with a small selection of items just because some over zealous retailer decided they needed to put up their summer selections before Easter even started. And, an early Easter should be the one time you actually finish out a season before switching to the next seasonal display. There is no need to put out beach towels on March 30 in Chicago, Illinois. Trust me.  


Anyway, the good news is that the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and chocolate bunnies moves to April 20 in 2014, but that still leaves the candy industry in a lull for 2013. And not much to look forward to, except the Fourth of July parades — in three months.


As I sit here enjoying my half-priced Reese's peanut butter Easter eggs that I bought at Walgreen’s on Monday, I have to say I think there’s a lot of wisdom in what Rob Auerbach, president of CandyRific, says about rethinking seasonal sales.

reeses eggs

 

I interviewed him recently about seasonal strategies, and as he explains things, it doesn’t really matter if people associate candy with a time of year — what’s important about seasonal sales is that more people are in the stores.


“Any time you have confectionery offerings, and a critical mass of people, you’re going to have sales,” he says. “It’s driven more by traffic than by, ‘This is the time of year I’ve got to get confections.’”


Which means, that suddenly “Back to School” can be a confectionery holiday. And so can, “Saturday morning grocery trips” or even, “Gardening season” at the local do-it-yourself store.


I don’t think candy shaped like a secretary is going to take off any time soon, but it wouldn’t be the worst idea to target those shoppers who are at the local hardware store picking up a new grill this summer. After all, they like chocolate just as much as the next girl.


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