Shopping trollies around Australia are beginning to fill up with Easter goodies this week, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), with under two weeks until the Easter holiday period kicks off.

Unlike Christmas, shopping for Easter generally takes place in a shorter period of time, with the bulk of Easter related purchases taking place in the fortnight prior to Good Friday.

 ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, said that despite supermarkets who begin to push the sale of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns from New Year, the majority of sales do not occur until much closer to Easter.

 “Spending on gifts and entertaining for Easter really begins to ramp up from now on, with a peak in Easter-related spending expected in the five days prior, from March 20 to 24,” said Mr Zimmerman.

 “Hot selling items will of course be chocolate and sweets, hot cross buns, and seafood, and we’ll also see a general spike in sales of food and beverages as consumers make purchases for Easter celebrations with family and friends.

 “As stores are unable to trade by law on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, shoppers will be stocking up on all the necessities to tide them over for those days when they aren’t able to get to the shops.”

 Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses estimates around 150 million hot cross buns will be consumed by Australians this Easter, while chocolate sales are expected to exceed $200 million.

 Fish markets and co-ops will also be preparing for crowds in the days before Good Friday, with many Australians upholding the tradition of giving up meat for the day. Sydney Fish Markets predicts around 55,000 people will walk through its doors on Good Friday, and more than 400 tonnes of seafood will be sold throughout the weekend at the markets, including more than 44 tonnes of prawns.

 “Easter is a key sales period for retailers, particularly those in the business of food and groceries, however, stores in other areas are also able to pick up additional sales with targeted offers relevant to Easter.

 “We’ve seen innovative retailers grow sales each with the addition of limited edition Easter lines, or non-traditional products, such as chocolate hot cross buns.”