CHRISTMAS chocolate is barely off the shelves but shops are already replacing them with Easter eggs, to customers’ 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 — despite falling on April 1.

The Co-operative, which is giving shelf space to Easter eggs, said many customers liked to buy them “as soon as they can”.

Customers on social media said they believe March 1 is a reasonable start date to be subjected to Easter advertising.

Lucy Lawson, who posted a picture of chocolate eggs in a Co-operative store in Settle, North Yorkshire, said: “I kid you not,” while others said “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.”