Inflation isn’t evident at Easter

For all the talk of inflation this year, whether it is the price of cotton or the cost of food, Easter won’t cost any more this year than last year for shoppers who are selective in their purchases at Target.

The retailer featured bagged candy on the cover of this week’s circular at the same $2.69 price point as last year for the same quantities. Inside, felt baskets at $2, Peeps at two for $3, plastic eggs for 65 cents, plush characters at $4.99 and that carrot shaped cellophane thing filled with orange Reese’s Pieces at 99 cents were the same prices as the prior year.

In the toy category, year-over-year comparisons are tougher to make due to product changes. For example, last year Target offered a Nerf Raider 35-shot dart blaster for $29.99 compared with this year’s Nerf N-Strike Stampede, which offers fully automatic capability to fire 60 darts and comes with three clips for $34.99.

Overall, Target is being more promotional in toys this year in some key categories with some well known brands in hopes of generating multiple purchases. For example, shoppers can buy one classic game, such as Yahtzee or Candy Land, at the temporary price-cut price of $6.49 and get a second half off or receive a similar offer if they purchase a Lego or Barbie brand product. Last year, single price points were featured. In related categories, Target offered a kids 16-inch licensed bike for $59 and a Spalding portable basketball goal for $169, the same prices as last year.

Food is the one category where there has been the most buzz about inflation, but as long as Target shoppers avoid ham, which admittedly is hard to do at Easter, prices are fairly constant with the prior year. 

Turkey breast at 99 cents, Swanson Chicken broth and Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup at 75 cents, strawberries at $1.99 a pound, pineapple at $2.49 and a one-pound bag of baby carrots for $1.49 were all the same as the prior year.

The most noticeable price increase was ham, which costs $1.99 a pound this year for the Archer Farms spiral cut compared with $1.59 last year. Broccoli and cauliflower are priced at $1.79 this year compared with $1.49 last year, and Target is charging $3.99 for its cinnamon muffins this year compared with $3.49.

Prices increased somewhat on a few other Easter essentials. Wicker baskets cost $1.50 this year versus 75 cents last year, Paas brand egg coloring kits are now $1.49 versus 99 cents and tin baskets in assorted colors are $5 compared with the more feature-rich wooden handled, licensed character buckets offered last year for $4.

Overall, families who do their shopping at Target for Easter will be paying essentially the same as last year, aside from the ham. It’s just going to cost a lot more to get to the store with gas prices in some parts of the country now above $4 a gallon.

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