Consumer businesses will be setting their sights on the Royal wedding effect

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As the world gears up to celebrate the exchange of vows between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday 19 May 2018, KPMG UK has picked the brains of our UK head of consumer markets, Linda Ellett, and our chief economist, Yael Selfin, to gauge prospects for UK businesses.

Commenting on the prospects for consumer businesses, Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG, said:

“The Royal wedding can only be viewed as a positive event for consumer businesses, particularly in light of how difficult things have been in the sector recently. Indeed, the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor recorded the sharpest sales drop in 22 years.

“Thankfully though, Royal weddings appear to have a more positive impact on these businesses. The wedding between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011 resulted in a monthly like-for-like retail sales jump 6.31 per cent, and weekly sales up as much at 17%, compared to the same month and week the year before.

“If we look to the impact on tourism, ONS statistics recorded that 30.8 million overseas residents visited the UK the year of the last Royal wedding – a boost of 3.3 percent on the previous year – and businesses of all shapes and sizes will no doubt be poised and ready to capture the increased footfall. The hope of course, is that we don’t only see an uptick now, but visitors go on to recommend a trip to our shores when they are back on home turf.

“Food and drink sales are the natural winners during times like these, as people come together and look to make the most of the moment. Indeed, UK publicans will be keen to make the most of extended trading hours this weekend. Meanwhile, many grocers have already sought to mirror the Anglo-American ties, with ingredients from both sides of the pond. This weekend will mark a prime opportunity to fly the flag for Brand Britain.”

Commenting on the prospects for the UK economy, Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG, added:

“The Royal wedding will mark a happy occasion, and an opportunity for people in Britain to celebrate. While it may encourage some rise in spending by UK consumers – particularly in areas like fashion, merchandising, as well as food and drink – the overall impact on the UK economy is likely to be small.

“One of the more significant boosts to the UK economy will come from a rise in tourism, particularly given Meghan Markle’s American background. Coupled with the weak pound and a strong US economy, we are likely to see a jump in US tourism spend this summer.”