Home improvement retailers usually enjoy a sales boost of about 40 per cent over the Easter holiday, and this weekend should be no exception. 'Easter is the equivalent of Christmas for the DIY sector, and generally that remains the same even when it comes much earlier or you count in factors such as poor weather,' said a Focus spokeswoman. 'Most people in the country will be doing some sort of DIY regardless, so we expect to be much busier than usual.'
A B&Q spokeswoman agreed that a strong Easter was on the cards. 'We are definitely expecting to increase the volume of sales over the weekend. I expect it would be the type of products rather than the amount sold that would be affected by any external factors such as the weather,' she said.
However, Evolution analyst Nick Bubb, commenting on retail as a whole, remained unsure about Easter trading prospects on the high street. 'Given the sunny and warm end to last week in the Southeast, it may seem odd that the weather measurement company Planalytics' index of weather-driven demand was actually 6 per cent down for the week ending March 19. But the week overall wasn't that much warmer than last year and there were some patchy regional effects, plus other distractions for consumers. This week looks a lot better, but the weather may break again over the weekend so the outlook for Easter is very mixed,' he said.