The anniversary weekend is expected to bring a boost of over £6 billion to high street shopping and hospitality businesses.
Revelers are expected to spend more than £2bn in England and Wales for food and drink alone.
About a fifth of the population plans to attend a street party, according to Opinium and Vouchercodes report, with around £600,000 expected to be spent on decorations and memorabilia as retailers provide shoppers with the questionable delights of queen-shaped gnomes, corgi balloons and co. seduce union flag bunting.
The platinum anniversary has prompted a truckload of themed gear to capitalize on the party atmosphere after more than two years of restrictions imposed by the pandemic kept friends and families apart. Laura Ashley said sales of her cake stands and dinner sets more than quadrupled this week as households prepared for gatherings.
Meanwhile, Pets at Home saw a 31 percent increase in sales of pet party treats like pawty cakes and garden party dog food, which are flavored with strawberries and veggies and chicken.
Despite worries about family budgets amid soaring utility bills and the cost of weekly grocery shopping, the long weekend is expected to drive an 8% increase in visits to retail destinations in the week leading up to the bank holiday weekend, according to analysts from Shopper observation group Springboard, including shopping streets and shopping centers perform best.
UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association and Hospitality Ulster said they expect nearly £400m more to be spent in pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues than a normal Thursday to Sunday in May.
“We sense that there is a real pent-up desire in the population to get out and enjoy themselves,” the trade organizations said in a joint statement. They added that while companies continue to face huge cost increases, a staffing crisis and rising rent repayments, the four days “would do wonders for employee income and morale.”
“Finally, our struggling sector can look forward to a trading period that will give it a massive boost on the long road to post-pandemic recovery,” the four bodies said.
Supermarkets had already rallied ahead of the half-term as grocery sales rose in the week ending May 21 after months of declines, according to market analyst Nielsen.
Lisa Hooker of consultancy PwC said: “Despite the significant drop in consumer confidence our latest consumer sentiment survey has shown, a difficult few years combined with the feel-good factor of celebrating with family and friends could yield positive results for grocers as of and over the platinum anniversary weekend.”
But Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said it’s likely a “short-term increase in sales,” adding, “With food inflation at 6% to 8%, volumes are demonstrably lower.”
Official figures show that extra bank holidays in previous anniversary years have resulted in a sharp fall in the UK’s overall economic output, or GDP, as the benefits of higher consumer spending do not outweigh the costs of business closures for the day.
Retailers and hospitality bosses expect trade to slow by the end of the summer as families return from summer holidays booked when the economic outlook was brighter and higher bills await the doormat.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium’s trade body, which represents all major retailers, revealed on Wednesday the highest inflation in food prices in a decade, saying: “It’s likely to get worse before prices get any better for consumers.” rising and another increase in energy costs in October.”