Saturday, February 2, 2008

Early Easter May Forecast Retail Markdowns

How early is Easter? I've done a bit of research and it doesn't get any earlier than this year!

In the 250 year span from 1875 to 2124 Easter never has been before March 23rd. In 250 years Easter occurs only twice on March 23rd, first in 1913 and then again this year 2008. For kids apparel retailers an early Easter usually shortens the full price selling season.

Consumers have come to expect markdowns on spring and summer kid clothing after Easter, but because Easter is so early this may not be the case. Mothers, the primary shopper for kids clothes, can't remember an Easter so early and this is sure to alter shopping patterns and behavior. My guess is a strong first half of March for retailers, a slow second half of March, followed by a very strong first half of April leading into the spring school vacation weeks.

The silver lining is the typical consumer buying behavior will return for the foreseeable future. Here are the Easter dates for the next four years.

2009 April 12
2010 April 4
2011 April 24
2012 April 8

My advise to childrenswear retailers is don't panic when sales drop off during the second half of March, its only due to the early Easter. Plan your strongest spring events for the beginning of April and you'll reap the rewards in the first half of April.

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