Retailers across the country celebrated a cracking Easter, with many reporting significant increases in sales and footfall, while peaks on Easter Sunday were attributed to Sunday trading restrictions.

Sales were so strong at Manny Patel’s Surrey store in Long Ditton, that he chose to remain open for an additional hour, until 7pm, on both Sunday and Monday.

“Sales were up between 10-15% this Easter compared to last year, which made up for the quiet Christmas we had,” he said. 

“We were able to capitalise on the supermarkets being closed over the bank holiday and more customers came to us for their groceries, top-ups and Easter essentials.

“It was really great to be so busy on Sunday and we sold out of Easter eggs without having to reduce any of them,” he added. 

In Orpington, Kent, Anita Nye of Eldred Drive Stores also reported strong sales across all categories with chocolate eggs leading the charge.

“It’s a great relief that Sunday trading laws won’t be changed after all as the restrictions on supermarkets give us a key advantage at times like this.”

Anita Nye, Eldred Drive Stores, Orpington

“Easter 2016 was great for us, in fact we’d sold out of all our eggs by Sunday which was amazing considering how many we’d ordered. It’s a great relief that Sunday trading laws won’t be changed after all as the restrictions on supermarkets give us a key advantage at times like this,” she said.

Sales at Jatinder Sahota’s Londis store on the Isle of Sheppey were also up across all categories and the store sold 25% more chocolate eggs than in 2015. “We sold out at full price by Sunday morning, which means next year we’ll expand our display even more,” he said.

The seasonal event was also heavily promoted in stores and on social media.

Jatinder ran a competition asking customers to Like, Share or Comment on his range of chocolate eggs on Facebook and Twitter: “We invested in our range this year and stocked a range of sizes and price ranges. We even had customers posting pictures and engaging with us on social media,” he said.

Anita and her team also promoted the event with an in-store competitions and decorations. “Easter is becoming bigger and bigger each year and we invest a lot of effort drawing attention to it and getting shoppers involved,” she said.

“We sold four different price tiers of eggs and the cheapest at £1 were by far the biggest sellers followed by the most expensive at £4.00. We also sold some dairy free eggs at £4 which sold out too.

Worcestershire retailer Chaz Chahal of Costcutter Bromsgrove also reported success at the bottom and top end of the chocolate egg market.

“There’s no doubt that Easter is becoming bigger and bigger each year. We ordered more stock than ever before and got it out six weeks prior to Easter and sold through all of it.

“We saw real growth in the budget and premium of the chocolate egg market while sales of middle ground eggs remained stable – we didn’t place as much emphasis on these, as the supermarkets compete hard in that price range. Total sales were significantly up on a normal weekend and on last year too, it’s not all about eggs, sales of other categories such as drinks and snacks were also up too,” he said.

However, not all retailers reported sweet sales.

Mohammad Afzal, owner of Nisa Local in Oxford, said sales were down slightly on last year.

”We opened between 9.30am and 7.30pm on Easter Sunday and Monday but just did not get the numbers through the door that we had hoped for.

“I put this down to the vast amounts of competition locally to us, with supermarkets and discounters offering really cheap prices, partnered by a growing trend in health conscious shoppers, as many shoppers said that they were buying less chocolate than in previous years because they were concerned about high sugar levels. We also saw sales of Easter Eggs, confectionery and hot cross buns and pastries sell less than last year.”