High Streets Initiative · 26 May 2017

Bank holiday spending could earn local businesses up to £3bn

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Seaside towns could see an influx of consumers this May bank holiday

Local businesses on high streets across the UK could earn as much as £3bn this May bank holiday weekend, as more people choose to spend money closer to home.

Industry analysis from payments processor Worldpay has revealed that since the Brexit vote, Brits are choosing to spend their longer bank holiday weekends in their own country rather than travel overseas for a mini-break, due to the increasing cost of foreign travel.

Recent Worldpay transaction data has shown that this year’s early May bank holiday weekend saw card transaction in-store, at retailers throughout the UK, increase by 7 per cent compared to the same weekend in 2016.

The strong growth in bank holiday spending during early May this year will be welcomed by smaller retail and hospitality business owners, who’ll be hoping for a similar jump in trading over the second May bank holiday.

Last year, pubs and restaurants proved the biggest winners during the early May break as a result of higher consumer bank holiday spending. The analysis revealed that bank holiday spending in pubs and restaurants went up 25 per cent and 21 per cent respectively that weekend.

Britain’s hotel also performed well, experiencing a 17 per cent jump in bank holiday spending in 2016. These figures are expected to be higher this year, with the up-swing in spending seen in early May likely to continue.

In terms of the areas of the UK benefiting most from the bank holiday spending boom, traditional seaside destinations and historical cities have seen the steepest spending rise. During the early May bank holiday 2016, spending increased in Cornwall, Brighton and Edinburgh by 11 per cent, 6 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

Commenting on the data, Worldpay UK’s chief marketing officer, James Frost, said: “The current weakness of the pound means more Brits are choosing a staycation instead of heading abroad, while foreign tourists are making the most of cheaper prices by flocking to destinations from Edinburgh to Cornwall.

“Savvy business owners will be doing all they can to make the most of this boom, from taking on extra staff to deploying technologies designed to speed up service at busy times.”

“This is a key period for businesses which rely on seasonal peaks in traffic, and with the weather forecast looking positive – for the moment – tourist hotspots across the UK will be looking to make hay while the sun shines.”

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This article is part of a wider campaign called the High Streets Initiative, a new section of Business Advice championing independent and small retailers by identifying the issues that put Britain’s high streets under pressure. Visit our High Streets Initiative section to find out more.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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