EARLY ARRIVAL MAKES EASTER TOUGH SELL

Easter's early arrival this year could be bad news for food retailers, a bunch not generally recognized for jumping to seasonal selling opportunities.Easter came in April the past two years, giving retailers overall plenty of selling time between Valentine's Day and Easter. Consumers were exposed longer to Easter merchandise and nice shopping weather.Accordingly, the past two years were a boon for

Easter's early arrival this year could be bad news for food retailers, a bunch not generally recognized for jumping to seasonal selling opportunities.

Easter came in April the past two years, giving retailers overall plenty of selling time between Valentine's Day and Easter. Consumers were exposed longer to Easter merchandise and nice shopping weather.

Accordingly, the past two years were a boon for retailers. Easter candy sales rose 5.5% and 2.2% in 2004 and 2003, respectivel

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