Australians are expected to spend billions of dollars on everything from chocolate bunnies to luxury getaways this Easter holiday period.
Shoppers are tipped to splurge $3.36 billion nationwide over the long weekend, a 2.24 per cent increase on 2018, the National Retail Association (NRA) has forecast.
That figure includes a whopping $228.4 million on chocolate, up from $223 million in 2018.
NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb said that while the retail sector is struggling in 2019, Easter spending sprees will be a boost for retailers.
Long lunches and weekend getaways will be on the cards for some shoppers, with holidays and travel tipped to see the largest bump in spending with a 3 per cent annual rise to $1.46 billion.
Food and beverage purchases are also expected to increase, tipped to rise by 1.8 per cent to $1.4 billion.
“The growth in holidays and travel will no doubt be from the increase in available leisure time,” Ms Lamb said.
“With Anzac Day falling only a couple of days after the Easter long weekend, many employees will take this opportunity to take extra leave over the three-day working week.”
Fishmongers are set for a busy weekend, thanks to the tradition of abstaining from eating meat on Good Friday.
Sydney Fish Market general manager Bryan Skepper said he expects 50,000 people will visit the market on Good Friday and estimates that more than 650 tonnes of seafood will be sold during the day.
Nationwide, a projected $28.7 million is expected to be spent on fish and seafood.
Hefty fines for retailers breaching trading laws
Retailers who flout restricted retail trading hours over the Easter long weekend risk hefty fines, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) warned.
Citing the example of a shopping centre seeking to compel its tenants to open on Easter Sunday, ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman urged landlords and retailers to check state regulations to determine if they were permitted to trade.
“The ARA is concerned that retail businesses that open during prohibited times over Easter – whether inadvertently or deliberately – will find themselves slapped with hefty fines for their trouble,” Mr Zimmerman said.
He said that while some exceptions to prohibited trading times during Easter were allowed, these were extremely limited.
“We know from retailers seeking clarification, for example, of a shopping centre in Sydney that wanted to tell its customers it’d be open on Easter Sunday, and sought to compel its tenants to trade,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“Easter Sunday trading is illegal under NSW law, unless an exemption is granted. Traders who complied with this directive from centre management would be liable for a fine of $11,000 per business.”