Sales & Marketing

Sales tumble for independent retailers over Royal Wedding weekend

2 min read

23 May 2018

Independent UK retailers experienced a surprising 8% sales drop on average over the Royal Wedding weekend, as consumers abandoned high streets up and down the country in favour of watching the televised nuptials.

With sales for independent retailers on Saturday 19 May – the day of the Royal Wedding – dropping by 8% overall, retailers in certain sectors fared much worse.

Sales in independent clothing shops, for example, fell sharply by 24%, whilst fitness centres saw a 18% decrease in customers as people chose to skip the gym to watch Meghan walk down the aisle.

The only independent retailers that would end up happily toasting the royal couple were those that sold alcohol. Beer, wine and spirit sales figures at independent stores were up 7% compared with the previous Saturday, whereas convenience store sales jumped 5%.

Co-owner of the London based craft beer store Hop Burns & Black, Jen Ferguson, told Real Business: “Whilst we weren’t bothered about the Royal Wedding beforehand, it definitely had an impact on our sales over the weekend.

“Celebrations for the nuptials, combined with the warm weather and the FA Cup final, made for a holy trinity and helped us to bring in our strongest day of sales for the year so far.”

The sales figures, gathered by point-of-sale software platform Vend and based on survey data from 1,200 SME retailers, also showed which UK towns and cities were most heavily impacted by Royal Wedding fever.

Independent retailers in Manchester suffered the most as a result of the Royal Wedding, with sales in the city decreasing 16% overall on the Saturday. Birmingham also fared poorly, with a total sales drop of 14%, while Edinburgh and Glasgow also experienced decreases.

Surprisingly, shoppers in Leeds weren’t distracted at all by Royal Wedding celebrations. Independent shop owners hailing from the Yorkshire city actually recorded a sales increase of 19% for the weekend overall, with sales in Brighton, Bristol and London also up overall.

Commenting on the weekend’s shopping habits, Vend founder Vaughan Rowsell said: “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.

“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.”