UK supermarket groups are set to enjoy a mini-boost to trade as Britons put aside cost-of-living concerns for a few days and prepare to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee with Christmas parties. street and barbecues. With two public holidays on Thursday June 2 and Friday June 3 before the weekend and correct weather forecasts, the demand for alcohol, soft drinks, barbecue and dessert ingredients is expected to skyrocket.
Market researcher Kantar said that when Britain celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, UK supermarkets saw sales increase by 10% in the week leading up to the festivities. “We should never underestimate the appetite for a party, especially a royal party,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insights at Kantar.
Steve Rowe, outgoing chief executive of Marks & Spencer, said last week that his customer research showed that at least 40% of the UK population planned to throw a street party. “These things tend to fall into place very quickly at the last minute… We’re looking forward to a great party with her majesty,” he told reporters.
Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second-biggest supermarket group, said it expected sales of staples such as flour, eggs and icing sugar to rise by at least 30% in the week before the Jubilee bank holiday weekend compared to a usual week. Upscale supermarket Waitrose said on Friday that sales of savory pastries rose 14% last week year-on-year, while sales of rosé wine rose 18%.
He said sales of Dubonnet, the Queen’s favorite drink, were up 50% on last year. But the boost to trade from Jubilee spending should be short-lived.
Britons are facing a squeeze on their disposable income, with inflation hitting a 40-year high of 9% in April and set to rise further. To cushion the blow, the government last week announced a 15 billion pound ($19 billion) support package for households struggling to cope with rising energy bills.
Last month, market leader Tesco and Sainsbury’s both warned of falling profits this year. ($1 = 0.7912 pounds)
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