This year's early Easter has shamrocks and bunnies battling for shelf space.
Restaurant, shop and bar owners are expecting weaker St. Patrick's Day spending, with this year's holiday falling on the Monday before Easter.
Based on a survey of 7,977 consumers nationwide by the National Retail Federation, spending on St. Patrick's Day is expected to drop to $3.64 billion, down from $3.76 billion last year. Despite an anticipated boost in average spending to $35.04 from $34.89, fewer consumers said they planned to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year, the trade group reported.
"Retailers and restaurants that benefit from the St. Patrick's Day holiday are up against a double whammy of an early Easter and the holiday falling on a Monday," Tracy Mullin, the trade group's CEO, said in a statement. "With the holiday just six days before Easter, many retailers are finding that they don't have enough space on their shelves to promote shamrocks and Easter bunnies at the same time," Mullin said.
Nearly a third of consumers surveyed said they were going to a bar or restaurant on St. Patrick's Day, while others planned private parties or special dinners.