Wal-Mart Canada has rushed to ready stores for the earliest Easter in nearly 200 years

    Early arrival of the yearly Easter favourite, the one-pound chocolate
    bunny, is expected to surprise some customers

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 7 /CNW/ - In anticipation of the earliest Easter
holiday since 1818 - nearly two centuries ago - Wal-Mart Canada stores were
readied for Easter in record time. Easter is the number-two holiday for food
spending and confectionery purchases and the third-busiest shopping time of
the year (behind Christmas, and back-to-school). Wal-Mart Canada anticipates a
retail rush in the weeks leading into Easter, as customers realize the holiday
- which varies annually, and falls between March 22 and April 25 - is
happening on March 23.
    The cycle of Easter dates repeats after exactly 5,700,000 years. The
holiday has not fallen on March 22, the earliest possible date, since 1818. It
will not fall on March 23 again until 2160. (Source: Wikipedia).
    Boasting one of the largest assortments of Easter merchandise, Wal-Mart
customers will be celebrating the holiday in traditional style with egg
decorating, gift baskets, candy, and family gatherings. Stores transitioned
from the red of Valentine's Day to the multi-coloured seasonal look of Easter
in a matter of weeks.
    "In the two weeks ahead, we expect many customers to have an 'aha' moment
when they see our Easter products so early in the year," said Sylvain
Prud'homme, Wal-Mart senior vice president of merchandising. "Easter remains
an important holiday for Canadians and Wal-Mart stores provide a one-stop shop
for Easter essentials - particularly for those who have less time to shop than
they expected."
    The retailer has polled its merchandise buyers and checked store sales
data nationwide to compile Wal-Mart's annual list of the expected trends and
top-selling items for Easter 2008.
    The continued reigning champ of the Easter candy aisle remains the
one-pound chocolate bunny, at $1.98. Wal-Mart Canada's 299 stores expect to
sell more than one million bunnies before Easter.
    Early sales data suggest the following trends:
      -  With the foresight of Easter's early arrival, Maritimers were one of
         the first to begin shopping for the holiday.
      -  Saskatchewanians will be hosting egg decorating parties.
      -  Albertans can expect to receive Easter bunnies as gifts and to
         participate in Easter egg hunts.

    The following top selling gifts underline the popularity of Easter

      1. Chocolate Easter Bunny
      2. Easter Egg Colouring Kits
      3. Pre-filled Baskets
      4. Licensed Easter Basket
      5. Plush Easter Toys
      6. Easter Lilies
      7. Wal-Mart Gift Card
      8. Easter DVDs
      9. Easter Greeting Cards
     10. Easter Apparel

    About Wal-Mart Canada Corp.

    Established in 1994 and headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Wal-Mart
Canada operates a growing network of 305 outlets nationwide. In recent years
more than 100 Canadian communities have lobbied or petitioned to have a
Wal-Mart built in their towns. The company employs more than 77,000 Canadians
Wal-Mart Canada serves more than one million Canadians each day.
    To use Wal-Mart as a backdrop for your Easter story or for more
information, please contact: Karin Campbell at (905) 821-2111 x 4042.

For further information:

For further information: Karin Campbell at (905) 821-2111 x 4042

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