Billion dollar boost from British royal wedding: expert

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Money experts were speculating Wednesday as to how big a boost Britain's struggling economy will get from Prince William's wedding next year, with one forecast touching a billion dollars.

Looking beyond the souvenir tat -- tea towels, cheesy crockery -- some were predicting a football World Cup-style bonanza with loyal subjects stocking up on fancy food and booze to toast the happy couple.

Meanwhile tourist bosses were hoping for a surge in foreign interest not only in London but other places around Britain associated with the royals.

One expert, Neil Saunders, consulting director of retail researchers Verdict, said the total consumer spending boost could hit 620 million pounds (990 million dollars, 730 million euros)

Engagement merchandise alone could be worth up to 18 million pounds, while wedding-related items could top 26 million pounds, he said.

People will be keen to buy "some form or keepsake or memento", Saunders said, and "retailers will rush to capitalise on the merchandising opportunities".

A big, set-piece wedding "could well capture the nation's imagination and provide a fillip to the retail sector.

"Food and grocery retailers could cash in to the tune of 360 million as consumers buy extra treats to celebrate the occasion as well as champagne and wine to toast the happy couple."

The tourism industry could see an additional 216 million pound benefit.

"In total that means we are looking at a 620 million pound consumer spending boost.

"While that may sound like a lot, it should be remembered that this is a potentially massive event which will command not just the attention of Britons, but potentially most of the world."

© 2010 AFP

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