Martin Wood, head of strategic insight for retail at the organisation said: “We’ve seen some reports suggesting that supermarkets were running out of eggs in the final week before Easter.
“So while sales did increase in that final week, they didn’t increase as much as they had in the earlier pre-Easter period starting in early March.
“I would estimate that the missed opportunity was £5.2M. This is the difference between the increase in sales that occurred in the final week and the increase that would have happened if the average sales growth over the five-week Lent period had been maintained.”
Volumes rose strongly
Easter confectionery volume sales rose strongly this year, according to data just released by IRI. The figures from IRI’s Retail Advantage solution, which measures sales across all of the major grocery multiples, show Easter confectionery sales up by 8.6% in the five-week run-up to the Saturday before Easter Sunday.
Heavy promotional activity on Easter confectionery by some of the supermarkets in early March was responsible for helping drive sales up, with volumes up by 15.1% over last year, IRI claimed.
Value sales reached a peak of £111M in the final week before Easter – 5.9% up on the same week last year, it said.
Easter is traditionally one of the grocery sector’s biggest seasonal events, along with Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. There had been strong demand for confectionery from consumers against a backdrop of falling prices and declining value and volume sales generally in the major supermarkets, IRI claimed.
“What this suggests to us is that we’re seeing a resurgence of seasonal event management in retail this year, following strong Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day sales,” said Wood.
“But it’s also clear that the major supermarkets underestimated the demand for Easter and that other retailers, like convenience stores, benefitted from this. It’s reasonable to assume that they could have done a lot better this year if they hadn’t sold out of eggs.”