Easter spending seen falling in U.S.

April 11, 2009|By Sandra M. Jones | Sandra M. Jones,Tribune Newspapers

Like the rest of America, the Easter Bunny is scaling back.

Spending on chocolate bunnies, Easter outfits, flowers and other holiday fare is projected to fall about 14 percent this year after holding steady in 2008, according to the National Retail Federation.

Shoppers expect to spend an average of $116.59 for the Easter holiday, down from $135.03 a year ago, according to a survey conducted by BIGresearch for the retail trade group.

The largest expense will be Easter dinner, with the average person expected to spend $37.67 on food, down from $41.09 last year, the survey found. Spending on flowers, gifts and decorations also is forecast to decline.

Retailers had been hoping that the late arrival of Easter this year - three weeks later than in 2008 - would spark spring clothing sales. But the survey found that fewer consumers are planning to buy Easter outfits this year as they continue to pinch pennies.

Discount stores are forecast to draw the most traffic, with 64 percent of shoppers intending to shop there, up from 59 percent last year.

The poll of 8,498 consumers was conducted from March 3 to March 10.

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