Shoppers bemused as Easter eggs start to appear on supermarket shelves
The Christmas chocolate tubs are barely off the shelves but supermarkets are already replacing them with Easter eggs, to shoppers' bemusement.
Although Valentine's Day is the next chocolate-heavy event on the consumer calendar, Easter is already making its presence felt on grocery shelves.
Easter Sunday, although falling early this year, is still 12 weeks away on April 1.
The Co-operative, which is giving over shelf space to Easter eggs, said many customers liked to buy them "as soon as they can".
Customers have taken to social media to voice their opinions, with many saying they believe March 1 is a reasonable start date to be subjected to Easter advertising and related products.
Lucy Lawson, who posted a picture of chocolate eggs in a Co-operative store in Settle, North Yorkshire, simply wrote: "I kid you not," while other opinions differed little from "way too early" to "that's actually insane".
A spokeswoman for the Co-operative said: "As a convenience retailer our stores often have limited backroom space which means products go on shelf when space appears.
"Sales figures also show that many customers will buy Easter eggs as soon as they can."
A number of consumers have also posted pictures claiming to have seen Easter eggs on sale at Tesco stores, despite the supermarket saying it was not selling them currently, while Jon Gregory wrote on Twitter: "Get lost @Morrisons. Creme eggs, mini eggs and malteaster bunnies already at PoS [point of sale]! There's a quarter of the year before Easter."
Sainsbury's said it was not selling them "at the moment".