Store owners across the country are bringing out the bunting ahead of the hugely-hyped royal wedding between HRH Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle on Saturday (19 May).
With fine weather on the cards, the nuptials, which will also be followed by the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United, are being tipped as a “significant sales opportunity” by many retailers.
Vince Maloney, of Maloney’s Budgens in Ascot, Shepperton and Virginia Water, is expecting a 10% boost to sales as local shoppers celebrate with BBQ food and party drinks.
“We’ve already got lots of BBQ products and bunting displayed in the store. We expect sales to be up about 10% this week with Friday night and Saturday morning being particularly busy,” he said.
“Ascot isn’t too far away from Windsor so it should be a good event. Windsor Racecourse is also being opened up to the public to have picnics while watching the wedding so we expect more people to shop with us because of that.
“We’ve also upped our order of snacking products so that we can cope with the extra demand.”
Independent retailer Dean Holborn, who owns two stores in Surrey, is also getting behind the event.
“With the wedding ceremony starting at 12pm on Saturday I’m expecting the morning to be really busy. We aren’t holding a party as such but we are heavily promoting the occasion with bunting and flags decorating the inside and outside of both stores, and themed ‘wedding breakfast’ tables inside with lots of traditional goods for sale such as Pimms, prosecco and teacakes.
“People are loving it already. It’s a bit of fun and a great talking point,” he said.
Harry Goraya, owner of Rosherville Post Office, in Gravesend, Kent is also planning to put his in-store printing service to good use, creating bespoke Royal Wedding t-shirts and mugs for customers.
“We might also create a wedding-themed POS end and we’ll more than likely decorate the store with flags and banners,” he said.
Stores north of the border are getting equally into the occasion. “We’ve got the bunting and flags up. It’s a great opportunity to create a bit of buzz and come together as a nation in celebration of something fun and happy,” Dennis Williams, of Broadway Convenience Store in Edinburgh, said.
“With the football straight after I’m expecting it to be a really good day all round for sales,” he added.
Richard Dance, owner of six Welcome Co-op stores in the south of England, is planning to go all out with his support for the royal wedding.
He said: ”We’re planning to hold a series of cake sales to raise money for the Wessex Cancer Trust. The cakes are going to be decorated with Union Jacks and all the staff are getting involved.
“In one of my stores, the staff are also dressing up as members of the royal family to get that customer interest and bring some community spirit into the store. It should be a good sales opportunity as it’s more of a family event where people watch the wedding on the TV at home.”
The royal wedding is expected to be watched by an estimated 25 million viewers across TV channels. UK tourism numbers are also expected to be boosted by an extra 300,000 visitors over the month of May.