Royal Wedding Bank Holiday “costly” for Small Businesses
The introduction of an extra day’s bank holiday next year so that people can celebrate the royal wedding will damage small firms’ productivity, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said.
Following hot on the heels of a late Easter weekend, the extra day off on Friday 29th April 2010 will create a three-day working week. It has been reported that the additional bank holiday could cost UK businesses £6 billion in lost productivity.
The FSB said that the timing of the royal wedding could be damaging for small businesses, with many workers taking authorised or unauthorised leave between the consecutive bank holiday weekends.
“After the VAT hike in January, which could really slow consumer demand, many will be looking to a really strong Easter to get their business going,”
said FSB public affairs spokesman, Stephen Alambritis.
“But there will be a real temptation for workers not to bother going into work in the week of the wedding. It will be a three day week and it could see many businesses just shut down.
“Also, shop staff will expect to be paid time-and-a-half on a bank holiday so that will be another cost for some firms.”
However, research from Verdict, part of the Datamonitor group, has predicted that many retailers will gain from the royal engagement – forecasting that merchandising sales alone could be worth up to £18 million.
“But the benefit of the wedding itself is much bigger,”
said Verdict’s consulting director, Neil Saunders.
“Food and grocery retailers could cash in to the tune of £360 million as consumers buy extra treats to celebrate the occasion.”
Small-business owner John Lakey, of gift and wedding products retailer Candlelight Creations, agreed that the royal wedding would open up opportunities for some firms.
“It’s going to be a busy time for us as we produced the confetti for Charles and Camilla’s wedding, and we are hoping to do the same for this wedding. We’re also having a bit of fun with it and releasing some royal sock puppets.”
“For businesses based in touristy areas, like us, or in the leisure or hospitality sectors, the combination of people being off work and the number of people coming to Britain for the wedding will give them a sales boost as people will be out and about spending money.”
“However, it will be tough for many businesses. Most business owners will just have to work even harder over the bank holiday as their staff won’t want to work.”