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Royal Wedding will bring retail a much needed boost

With the Royal Wedding now only a few days away, retailers are gearing up for a final push on souvenir merchandise and celebratory food and drink as they hope the combination of sun and extended time off will send shoppers scurrying to spend.

Retailers from Primark to John Lewis are selling related merchandise and memorabilia while the likes of Asda have been selling souvenirs such as a Kate and Wills mug since the day after the engagement announcement.

A survey by Moneysupermarket.com earlier this month claimed that nearly 16 million of the UK population planned to celebrate the Royal Wedding with a predicted retail spend of £480 million and an average £29 spend per person.

Similar figures were released by retail research specialist Verdict last November which said that sales could be boosted by £400 million – with around £360 million spent on food and bubbly and £44 million spent on wedding related merchandise.

Kate and William marry on Friday 29th April

In March, the Centre for Retail Research produced figures for Kelkoo saying that £109.8 million would be spent on food, £76.5 million on alcohol including half a million bottles of champagne – costing £9 million.

The report said shoppers would spend £157.5 million on memorabilia and a further £61.5 million by the additional 360,000 overseas visitors expected to travel to the UK especially for the Royal Wedding.

The Kelkoo research suggested that 17% or £90 million of the additional retail spending would be online.

For many the money will be spent on party fare with a vast majority using the excuse of the extra time off to celebrate with a barbecue or other such party with friends and family and others taking part in street parties with their neighbours.

The report showed that nearly two million Brits planned to buy extra food in and one in ten to stock up on alcohol in preparation for the event.

But the outlook for those retailers with shelves stacked with Wedding souvenirs may be less rosy as only half a million plan to purchase decorations and just under a million said they would purchase souvenirs in the survey.

Charles and Diana’s wedding generated £680 million in retail sales, the equivalent of £2.04 billion in today’s money according to Kelkoo with more than 600,000 people gathered in London and 750 million people watching it on TV across the world.

Retailers will be hoping the combination of the recent sun and the two long weekends in a row will put today’s customers in a similar celebratory mood to that which Wills and Kate will be enjoying this Friday.

What that finally accounts to in terms of sales, retailers can only wait and see.

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