Brexit Britain’s Bank Holiday Boom Could be Worth £3 billion to Local Trade

The May bank holiday could earn a whopping £3 billion for UK high street businesses, as thrifty Brits choose to spend the long weekends – and their hard earned cash – closer to home.

 New data from payments processor Worldpay reveals that in post-Brexit Britain, where foreign travel is increasingly costly, native trips have upped their appeal. The company’s analysis of transaction data from the Early May bank holiday weekend reveals a 7% increase in card transactions in-store, compared to the same time last year.

For retailers and hospitality business owners, the strong growth in spending seen during the first bank holiday in May will be welcomed as an encouraging sign that trading this weekend could be even brisker.

Worldpay’s analysis of transaction data during the spring Bank Holiday in 2016 shows spending in pubs was up 25% compared to average over the long weekend. Restaurants (+21%), tourist attractions (+35%) and hotels (+17%) also saw double digit growth in spending compared to average. If the upward trend in spending seen in early May continues, then these figures could be even higher this year.

The regions seeing the greatest benefit from the bank holiday boom are vacation favourites Cornwall, Brighton and Edinburgh, where in 2016 overall spending increased by 11%, 6% and 5% respectively.

And while Worldpay’s data suggests many of us will be heading out this weekend, for others the long weekend will be a chance to catch up on home improvements. DIY stores saw spending rise by 6% compared to average during the spring bank holiday in 2016, while sales in garden centres were also up by nearly a quarter (24%).

James Frost, CMO Worldpay UK, comments: “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.

“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.”