By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Easter holiday this year in Brazil was sour for most food retailers with the holiday registering a decline by 9.6 percent in sales in comparison to the same holiday period last year, according to consumer trend consultancy Serasa Experian. Easter sales registered the worst year since the consultancy started its Easter sale survey, in 2007.

Brazil, Easter, chocolate eggs
Buy two get one free promotions were not enough to sell of chocolate egg stocks this year in Brazil, photo by Jose Cruz/Agencia Brasil.

“The deepening economic recession, with the unemployment rate on the rise, and the decline in consumer purchasing power due to inflation, negatively impacted the retail sector during the commemorative Easter date this year,” stated Serasa Experian economists.

Weaker sales than those registered last year were already expected by retailers, according to economist and finance professor, Gilberto Braga, but the retraction was steeper than forecast by merchants.

“By the week before Easter, sales estimates were nearly twelve percent lower than those seen last year. The sector expected a retraction of at the most four percent,” Braga was quoted by daily O Dia.

As the holiday neared, stores gave discounts of 30 to 50 percent on chocolate eggs or instated promotions of ‘buy two get one free’ to sell off their stocks. Many smaller non-chain retailers purchased smaller quantities of chocolate eggs so as not to be stuck with inventory.

To dissuade consumers even further, the rising costs of the raw material led chocolate manufacturers to reduce the weight of the product by 10 to 15 percent while keeping prices steady in comparison to Easter of 2015.

The worst results were seen in the city of São Paulo, where sales of chocolate eggs and Easter-related goods dropped by 11.6 percent in relation to Easter of 2015.

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