Stores across the country are gearing up for a sales bonanza during the 11-day window of opportunity between April 22 and May 3.

Retailers are anticipating princely profits from the period, which includes Easter weekend, St George's Day on April 23, the Royal Wedding on April 29 and May Day on May 2.

Steve Denham of Cherilyn Stores, West Chiltington, Sussex, is expecting high demand for local products such as sausages and wine as people get together for family barbecues. "I've stocked up on those types of products and remerchandised the wine section to make it even more attractive," he told C-Store. "Sunshine will really be the cherry on the cake though. So far this month we are already up 20% on February figures due to the recent sunny weather."

Independent retailer Chris Porter, who runs Cleall's of Corfe in rural Dorset, said the sales rush couldn't come soon enough. "With Easter falling so late we are in dire need of the bump in cash flow that I know the period will generate. I've been really careful with my orders, though, and won't be stocking lots of themed goods as I don't want to be stuck with it all at the end. I have, however, ordered in lots of local beers, ciders and meats, and our own-label chutneys which always sell like hot cakes over bank holidays thanks to all the tourists in the area."

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) urged retailers to ensure they have their staff rotas in order as soon as possible to prevent a cover nightmare. "The difference with the Royal Wedding as a public holiday is that it is a 'one-off' and there may be many more employees aggrieved that their request to take the day off is refused," said ACS legal advisor Graham Randall.

"Confronted with this situation some employers might wish to consider a ballot to determine who should be given the opportunity to have the day off. It would be important to get all staff to agree to the terms of such a scheme which, of course, should be transparent and fair."
The coming few weeks will be a bit of a blessing and a curse. We have always had a policy of giving staff bank holidays off and with three so close together my wife and I will have to give up a lot of extra time to cover their shifts. However, with good weather expected trade should be brisk, which should make up for it. We always do really well on Easter eggs and spring gifting products." 
John Maxwell Jones, Burgess Stores, Goudhurst, Kent 

"There's no doubt in my mind that the next month will be a bumper time for sales, and I can't wait. The concertina of holidays and celebratory occasions coupled with the recent warm weather will be of huge benefit to my business. I'm expecting alcohol, cigarettes, food to go and spring gifting to be the big winners." 
Robert BeattySpar, Allesley, Coventry