Royal Wedding celebrations send sales falling for independent retailers

royal wedding

Overall sales dropped 8 per cent for independent retailers on Saturday compared to the previous weekend, according to retail data released today. Spending also decreased by 2 per cent.

However, some independent retail outlets did benefit from the celebrations, with beer, wine and spirits store sales increasing by 7 per cent and convenience stores sales jumping 5 per cent, compared to the previous Saturday.

Those that fared the worst were fashion and apparel stores which had sales drop by 24 per cent, and fitness centres which saw an 18 per cent decrease as people opted to skip the gym and watch the nuptials instead.

And it was retailers in Leeds that seemed to see an upside in the Royal Wedding, with sales increasing by 19 per cent on Saturday. Meanwhile, Manchester shoppers were nowhere to be seen, contributing to a 16 per cent drop in retail sales.

“The Royal Wedding may have caused bottles of bubbly to pop open around the country, but it was a total fizzer for our independent retailers,” says Vaughan Rowsell, founder of Vend. “While shoppers in Manchester and Birmingham clearly stayed away from the shops to watch the big event, what about the people of Leeds? Perhaps they were spending up large in celebration, or perhaps the numbers tell us something different.”

John Lewis also saw its sales drop 0.3 per cent over the last week, with the royal wedding and warm weather proving a double-edged sword.

In the week to May 19, Waitrose saw sales rise 3.2 per cent as the weekend’s royal wedding and FA Cup final drove people out into the sunshine.

Sales of rosé and champagne subsequently shot up 68 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

Though this drove up food sales, the partnership’s eponymous department store chain suffered as shoppers avoided the high streets.

Total sales at John Lewis were down 6.3 per cent, dragged down by an eight per cent dive in home and fashion sales.

Upholstery performed well, as purchases of garden furniture saw sales rise 1.5 per cent, alongside a notably strong demand for DIY products.

The royal wedding also inflated sales of TVs, memorabilia and party wear.