Thank you Ma’am - UK retail and hospitality get Jubilee fillip
By James Davey
LONDON (Reuters) -Britons spent heavily on celebrations to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee over the four-day weekend, providing a much needed boost to the country's beleaguered hospitality and retail sectors.
Data from Barclaycard Payments said spending at restaurants rose 41.5% over the June 2-5 period versus the same period last year as people temporarily cast aside their cost of living worries.
Spending was up 74.2% at pubs, bars and night clubs, while spending on entertainment was up 67.3% and spending on public transport was up 38.8%, it said. Barclays Payments processes nearly one pound ($1.25) in every three pounds spent on credit and debit cards in the United Kingdom.
"Despite wider concerns around the cost of living, the hospitality sector especially will be pleased by this welcome boost having missed out on two years of unrestricted trading," its CEO Rob Cameron said.
Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic Solutions showed footfall over the long weekend rose 6.9% versus the average for May.
Footfall for the full week to Sunday June 5 was up 17.1% versus the average for May. The increase peaked at 45.6% on Thursday, before footfall dipped on Saturday and Sunday.
"We hope that the momentum can continue despite the ongoing economic turbulence," BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said.
Last week a joint survey by four trade bodies predicted the UK hospitality industry would enjoy a 2 billion pound ($2.5 billion) boost over the Jubilee weekend.
UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, the British Beer and Pub Association and Hospitality Ulster said the figure was almost 400 million pounds more than pubs, bars, restaurants and other venues could expect to earn during a normal Thursday to Sunday in May.
Britain's supermarkets also anticipated a spike in trade.
But the boost to the economy from Jubilee spending is expected to be short-lived. Data from the BRC for May spending, due to be published on Tuesday, is expected to be sobering.
Surging prices are causing the biggest hit to UK household incomes since at least the 1950s and consumer confidence is at near record lows. Inflation hit a 40-year peak of 9% in April and is projected to rise further.
To cushion the blow, the government last month announced a 15 billion pound package of support for households struggling to meet soaring energy bills.
$1 = 0.7963 pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Louise Heavens and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)