Old and new season lamb prices have strengthened as consumer demand grows in the run up to Easter.

The old season trade hit its highest point this year, with the GB OSL SQQ up 2p in the week ending 2 April at 213.2p/kg, even though throughputs were only 3% lower.

New season lamb numbers took off last week, with throughputs at GB marts up 59% on the week to total 1,650 head. New season prices improved again and are ahead of the previous year, with the GB NSL SQQ 15p higher at 253.9p/kg.

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British retail spending on lamb is still at a historic high, despite a 10% drop in volume sales in February, according to a report by EBLEX.

Retail prices were pushed up 9% over the past twelve months due to higher farmgate prices and tighter supplies from the UK and New Zealand.

“This has resulted in some price-sensitive shoppers shifting away from lamb towards cheaper pork and poultry, although with lower availability some of this movement was unavoidable,” the report said.

“The higher prices have, however, limited the impact of falling sales, with total expenditure on lamb falling by just 2% on the year.

“Despite being lower on the year, expenditure is still historically high and is well ahead of the level recorded for the corresponding periods prior to 2013.”