Easter confectionery sales were "hammered" by the hot weather as shoppers swapped chocolate for a cold beer over the Easter Bank Holiday.

As the mercury hit 27.8C, during the hottest Easter since records began, sources revealed Easter confectionery sales plummeted.

"Easter got hammered by the hot weather," said one senior confectionery source. "Everyone was very comfortable in the run-up to Easter, but two weeks prior to the weekend, we saw the first of the good weather and instantly saw a significant dip in like-for-likes." Some sales were down 20%, he added.

Data from Assosia revealed promotions were hastily switched as the hot weather began. The number of ambient confectionery promotions offered by the big four, Waitrose and The Co-op Group slumped 14.1% in the two weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, against the equivalent two weeks the year before.

The switch was most pronounced at Tesco, with confectionery promotions down 36.2% but beer deals up 262.5%. Morrisons was the only retailer to increase confectionery promotions during the period.

Retailers had cancelled their Easter egg orders, resulting in a "buoyant season" for branded eggs in the residual market, revealed another source.

"There has been a slush of job stocks available through wholesalers with brands such as Lindt, Cadbury and Milky Way," the source said. "The type of egg offered and the time they are being offered has been marginally earlier than usual due to the discounting by the multiples and cancellations by a wider base of retailers."

The supermarkets were unusually coy about their Easter egg sales, but were quick to reveal soaring sales of products associated with the hot weather. Tesco said it had sold one million bags of charcoal, three and a half million sausages, 500,000 burgers, and 12 million bottles and cans of beer.

Asda reported a 400% ­uplift in BBQ meat sales, including sausages, up 70%, burgers, up 100%, and steaks, up 50%. Suncream sales also soared 70%, beating expectations by 40%.

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Promo Dynamic: Cracking Easter egg offers hit shelves earlier than ever (9 April 2011)
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