Retailers in London’s West End could be set to see sales grow by £50 million this weekend thanks to an expected 500,000 increase in shoppers heading to the region as a result of Friday’s royal wedding.
New West End Company, the group that represents 600 retailers on Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, said that the half a million extra shoppers will arrive in the West End over the course of the four-day bank holiday weekend, providing a boost to businesses.
Many Londoners may be leaving London to escape the crowds who will be descending on the city from abroad and other parts of the country, but visitors are likely to keep tills ringing.
While the weekend trading increase is predicted to 11 per cent compared to a normal weekend, New West End Company predicts that there will be a “honeymoon halo effect” that will see a continued five to ten per cent sales uplift for around four weeks after Prince William and Kate Middleton have tied the knot.
Simon Burdess, Trading Director at Fortnum & Mason, which is located in Piccadilly, said: “We are very excited about the royal wedding.
“Sales of commemorative products, including our own range of china and food items have exceeded expectation in the run up to the big day.”
Michelle Dowdall, a spokesperson for Debenhams, added that much of the royal wedding memorabilia in the department store’s Oxford Street outlet has already sold out, but revealed there is still a huge demand for these type of goods.
Retail Gazette spoke to two retailers today, who foresee the royal wedding having a mixed impact on sales in the coming days.
Superdug Commercial Director Steve Jebson said that the fact the occasion is a good news story is important for consumer confidence, and from a Superdrug perspective Middleton’s progress as a beauty trendsetter will be interesting to follow in the months ahead.
“I think the princess will bring a new element to the view of British beauty and she is probably going to be the most influential beauty icon for the foreseeable future,” he explained.
As for sales related to the wedding celebrations, Jebson noted that red and white hairspray has flown off the shelves at a much faster rate than usual.
Founder and CEO of shirt maker Charles Tyrwhitt, Nick Wheeler, said that his company has planned for a fall in sales this weekend, although he is supporting the hyperbole and feels it will play an important role in getting communities together.
“Whether the royal wedding will help us or hinder us remains to be seen, but we have budgeted to lose sales,” he explained.
“Having said that there will be many people in the West End tomorrow, so after the service people might go and do some shopping - hopefully we’ll be surprised.”