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March 30, 2008 Retail Sales Summary (Information Resources, Inc.)

March 30, 2008

Information Resources ran a special report for NCA for the period ending March 30, 2008 so that Easter sales could accurately be measured compared to 2007. For the sake of comparing Easter sales, NCA used sales data for the period ending March 30, 2008 and compared it to the sales period ending April 22, 2007. NCA uses 12 week sales of chocolate and non-chocolate Easter candy and the four week sales of Gift-Box Chocolates to determine sales for the Easter selling season.

Because of the early date of Easter, March 23, NCA has decided not to do an analysis of confectionery industry sales comparing the period ending March 23, 2008 to the same period a year ago because sales increases were overstated. If an analysis was done for these same periods, one would be counting nearly two years of Easter candy sales in one 52 week sales period. NCA will once again do an analysis of 52 week sales when we have sales data for the April 20th period.

2008 Easter Sales Review

Easter fell on March 23 this year, the earliest date since 1913. Luckily for the confectionery industry Easter will not fall this early for more than another century. In 2007, Easter fell on April 8 so there were sixteen less days to merchandise Easter confectionery products or 30% less days to merchandise product if you consider February 15 the official kickoff to the Easter selling season.

Most in the confectionery industry anticipated a decline in sales this year compared to 2007 – it was just a matter of how large the decline would be. Well the answer is in and Easter confectioner sales declined 7.1% for the Easter selling season according to Information Resources. All things considered the industry can hold its head high with this single digit decline when you consider the extreme early date and the continued difficulties with the U.S. economy.

Supermarkets experience the best year-on-year sales posting a 2.5% decline in sales while Mass Merchants had a 5.6% decline and Drug Stores posted a 12.5% decline in sales. Chocolate Easter candy sales decline 7.0% and non-chocolate candy declined 7.9%.

Fortunately for the industry we are anticipating a strong Halloween sales season with Halloween scheduled to fall on a Friday this year. So it’s time to put this year’s Easter behind us and begin looking forward to 2009 when Easter will fall on April 12.

2008 Easter $ Percent Change vs. Year Ago (Food, Drug & Mass excluding Wal-Mart)

Distribution Channel FD&MFoodDrugMass
Candy Category % Change % Change % Change % Change
Total Candy -7.1%-2.5%-12.5%-5.6%
Chocolate Candy -7.0%-1.4%-11.8%-7.6%
Non-Chocolate Candy -7.9%-6.8%-15.2%+2.0%

NCA Members click here for full report