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Bank holidays - Boom or Bust?

As the Great British public re-adjust to a normal working, week retailers have been busy assessing whether the two consecutive Bank Holiday weekends were good or bad news for their businesses.

And it seems to have been a mixed bag with clothing and food performing well and other less weather dependent items less successful.

Experian figures showed that shoppers did stay away on the wedding weekend

At John Lewis sales fell by 10.7% excluding VAT and by 9.2% including VAT in the week to last Saturday. The department store chain admitted it had been affected by the enforced closure on Easter Sunday and its decision to close for the morning of the Royal Wedding.

Experian figures showed that shoppers did stay away on the wedding weekend with footfall down by a third on the day of the wedding itself and by 10.2% and 11.1% on the subsequent days.

However food and party fare performed particularly well for retailers as shoppers joined in the Royal Wedding party mood.

At Waitrose the retailer reported its best Easter Saturday ever with sale sup 15% on the previous year as the wedding, combined with the warm weather encouraged al fresco dining for many. The retailer also launched its barbecue meat range a month earlier thanks to the heatwave.

Morrisons meanwhile said that its Fuel Britannia and Let’s Celebrate campaigns for Easter and the Royal Wedding attracted record numbers of customer instore with the Thursday’s preceeding each Bank Holiday nearly as busy as peak Christmas trading.

Chief executive Dalton Philips said: “People just wanted to get out and party.”

Morrisons also said it sold 150 miles of bunting and 200,000 cupcakes.

At Next, the retailer said that the warm weather and the Royal Wedding had helped to boost sales by 2.5%, with the hot spell encouraging customers to bring forward their summer wardrobe purchases.

The total spend over the Bank Holiday period has yet to be calculated although ahead of the wedding predictions were of sales of at least £400 million for the Royal Wedding.

As the retail market continues to analyse the spend, we will know whether they really did have reason to celebrate too.

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