Easter Bunny bumps into Santa
THE Christmas decorations are still up in the shopping centres but retailers are already looking to the next festival, with hot cross buns on sale this week.
Woolworths supermarkets are selling packs containing eight of the buns, with chocolate hot cross buns also on offer for those with a sweet tooth — months ahead of Easter, which this year falls on the first weekend in April.
And while the supermarkets insist they are catering to demand, many customers saw it as a cynical marketing exercise at a time when many are already questioning the commercialisation of religious festivals such as Christmas and Easter.
Hairdresser Karen Flavel was shopping at Hinkler Central yesterday and said the early appearance of hot cross buns on supermarket shelves was “a big ploy”.
“You could almost regard it as false advertising,” she said.
“I think it’s a bit early — they haven’t even taken down the Christmas decorations yet.”
Ms Flavel said selling Easter goodies so early was just a money-grabbing exercise when consumers were still getting over Christmas.
“It’s too much. We don’t need this,” she said.
“It’s just another thing they want you to spend money on.”
Fellow shopper Pam Mackett agreed.
“That’s a bit ridiculous,” she said.
Mrs Mackett said it was a “very mercenary” move designed to get people to spend more of their hard-earned money.
“That’s a bit much,” she said.
“I’ve still got mince pies in the cupboard.”
But Woolworths media relations manager Benedict Brook said the national retailer was just fulfilling the demands of its customers.
“We are offering our customers hot cross buns,” he said.
“They come out at the same time every year; they come out in the new year.”
Mr Brook said people wanted hot cross buns early so Woolworths supplied them.
“People like eating hot cross buns — every year they are our biggest-selling bakery item up to Easter,” he said.
“It shows because when we put them out, the customers snap them up.”
Shoppers can expect to face more reminders soon that Easter is only months away.
Mr Brook pointed out that Easter eggs were not for sale in Woolworths yet — but they soon would be.
“We will be putting the more personal consumer Easter eggs out for sale in mid January,” he said.
“They are some of our best-selling items.”
Mr Brook said in mid February the more formal Easter eggs, such as boxed sets, would hit the shelves.
And he was unrepentant about the early availability of Easter-themed consumer goods.
“If the demand is there we’ll fill it.”