London retailers are in line for a £24m boost to fashion sales over the royal wedding bank holiday weekend and a return to ladylike dressing inspired by royal bride Kate Middleton.
The date for Middleton’s marriage to Prince William has been set for Friday, April 29 and will take place at Westminster Abbey in London. The day has been declared a bank holiday, which because it falls between the Easter and May Day bank holidays will create two four-day weekends sandwiching a three-day week in between.
Travel companies have predicted an exodus from the UK, but retailers said this would be offset by an influx of foreign visitors for the wedding, and a “party atmosphere” which would prompt shoppers to splurge.
Jace Tyrrell, director of communications at New West End Company, the association which represents retailers in London’s West End, predicted a 10% to 15% spike in sales in all retail sectors over the royal wedding weekend, and an additional £24m of spend on fashion.
However, the royal wedding effect will be felt differently across the country. Deryane Tadd, owner of womenswear boutique The Dressing Room in St Albans, said bank holiday trading laws would reduce opening hours, but the hourly rate for staff would go up.
Retailers also predicted Middleton’s rising profile would accelerate a trend towards demure dressing. The £399 blue Issa dress she wore to announce her engagement sold out the next day, and on Monday, Tesco’s £16 F&F dress in a similar style sold out online after just one hour.
Shoppers stay frugal
Some 71% of consumers will reduce their spend on clothing and footwear in 2011, according to an exclusive Drapers survey of 3,000 shoppers conducted by research company Onepoll.
Footwear will be the hardest hit category, as 24% of shoppers said they would cut back most on shoes, followed by formal trousers or skirts (23%), and coats (23%). Jeans (14%) and underwear (9%) will remain the highest priorities.
Just 17% of shoppers who had cut back spending said they had returned to their pre-recession spending levels, and just 20% said they would do so by summer 2011. Of those who had cut back, 14% said they would never spend as much as they used to again.
Less than a third (29%) of shoppers said they would be willing to pay 10% more for goods by a particular brand.
See Drapersonline.com for the full report