Businesses celebrate Royal wedding bonanza

BUSINESSES will have more than just the happy couple to toast today after reporting a surge in sales in the run-up to the Royal wedding.

With bunting aloft and flags flying high, communities across the county were last night gearing up for a day of celebration with a frenzy of last-minute purchases.

Bill Bulstrode, owner of Bulstrode’s general store in Framlingham, said sales of patriotic paraphernalia had gone “through the roof”.

“It’s been incredible,” he said. “The Union Jack bunting has sold out and my wholesaler has sold out as well.

“We have also sold loads of hand flags, flag poles, cups, plates, serviettes and anything that’s got red, white and blue on it. It has given the town a lift.”

Suffolk Cupcake Company said sales had doubled this week thanks to the popularity of its Royal wedding-designed creations, which feature the Union Jack and crowns in honour of the big day.

Co-owner Helene Challot said: “Sales generally have been slower this year than last, but this week has been a real boost.”

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The pub industry is hoping the wedding will provide a turnaround in fortunes for what has been an exceptionally tough year. Many are planning to show the ceremony on TV.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk brewery Greene King said: “A proper pub has to be one of the best places to celebrate the Royal wedding.

“It is not just an opportunity to boost sales, but also to encourage communities to come together in their local pub and mark the occasion in style.”

The signs were promising after fellow Suffolk-based brewery, Adnams, sold all 21,600 pints of its limited edition Royal Wedding Ale in just ten days.

Sales of The Old Cannon Brewery’s Hornblower ale, produced by the Bury St Edmunds micro-brewery, are also brisk.

Manager Mark Jones said: “We produced 2,240 pints and we are selling 100-150 pints a day.

“People are getting into the spirit of the wedding celebration. It seems to chime with them.”

Supermarkets were also enjoying a bonanza as residents stock up food and drink for street parties and social events.

However, Richard Perks, director of retail and research at market research company Mintel, said the royal nuptial would have a negative impact on the high street.

“Anything that distracts people from the important business of shopping is bad news,” he said.

“Yes, they have been selling memorabilia, but they will be losing half a day’s sales.

Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne called on Suffolk to use the royal wedding to promote tourism.

He said: “What I think we’ve got to do if we’re smart is to use the Royal Wedding and the Olympic Games next year as a permanent advert for our country so the people who come to visit Suffolk for the Olympic Games or the Royal wedding will come back again and again.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton are due to tie the knot at a ceremony at Westminster Abbey at 11.30am.

Jim Coughlan, general manager of the Woolverstone-based Royal Harwich Yacht Club, whose patron is Prince William’s grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh, said the club would be showing the wedding on a big screen.

He said: “Members can come here to combine their love of sailing with their desire to celebrate the wedding. It’s a special occasion for the nation.”