Home improvements and chocolate are high on shoppers' lists this weekend
DIY-related sales will make up nearly half of the consumer spend over the Easter holiday, with about£2 billion being spent on DIY over the coming weekend, according to the British Retail Consortium.

The BRC expects up to 5 million shoppers to visit DIY stores this weekend, spending an average of£399 each on home improvements.

The total spend in the week running up to Easter 2004, including Easter Saturday, reached£4.7 billion. This was up by£1.4 billion on the normal average weekly spend in the Easter month.

Ten per cent of all chocolate sales in the UK occur at Easter and an average of 80 million Easter eggs are sold each year, yielding£500 million in retail sales. However, much of the extra revenues are dependent on the weather. According to the Meteorological Office forecast for tomorrow and Saturday, weather conditions will be favourable for retailers, with most areas of the UK seeing some sunshine over the Easter holiday.

BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins said: 'The Easer bank holiday is one of the most important trading periods after Christmas. This year especially, when trading on the high street is extremely tough, retailers will be hoping that consumer confidence starts to pick up and that people start spending again. For many retailers, this could be some compensation for what has been a very disappointing few months.'