“We have heard that several of the supermarkets have not taken delivery of all the eggs they ordered,” said one discount retailer. “This suggests these retailers have not achieved sales forecasts, which is why they cancelled their deliveries. We took more than 400,000 units of undelivered stock in addition to the Easter orders we had placed in advance.”
Excess Easter stock was not unusual, but levels were higher this year because of the demise of Woolworths, added another source.
“The supermarkets bought Woolworths’ eggs quickly to move through the volumes early with promotional prices,” he said. “In the main, this worked – but they bought them knowing that if they didn’t sell they could simply send them back to the manufacturers.”
Green & Black’s was understood to have been badly hit. However, UK general manager Guillaume Brochen told The Grocer that data suggested between 90% and 95% of stock had been sold and Easter had been “very positive”.
Another discount retailer was understood to have received large quantities of excess eggs from manufacturers including Lindt, Thorntons and Cadbury in the last few days before Easter. Large eggs were being sold for as little as £1.99, while luxury eggs, usually sold for about £10, had been reduced to £5.49.
The multiples also ran deep promotions last week. Tesco sold Cadbury’s Collection Eggs, normally £6.99, at two for £3 – a saving of £10.98 – while Asda sold small eggs for just 68p. Easter eggs sales were up 29% at Sainsbury's and 12% at Morrisons. Sales of Easter products rose 13% at Asda, while Tesco claimed website sales had doubled.