The announcement by Buckingham Palace this morning that Kate Middleton, now known as the Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant set off cash registers ringing worldwide.
Just as the royal wedding two years ago was a retail bonanza, the royal pregnancy is expected to give a significant boost to retailers:
1. Women’s fashion and maternity wear
The “Duchess Effect” on women’s fashion has been well documented and Brian Walker, chief executive of The Retail Doctor says this isn’t going to stop just because she is now pregnant.
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Every time the Duchess of Cambridge steps out in a dress she bought on the High Street there is a surge in internet traffic and within hours the frock, jacket or shoes are sold out online, often in every size.
“When Kate visited Singapore recently the purple dress she was wearing sold out within an hour, so I think we will see the Duchess effect in retail,” Walker says.
“I think you are going to see merchandise particularly clothing she wears during her pregnancy being repeated in fashion stores.”
2. Baby clothing and items
Prince William has already accepted a gift for his unborn child last week when the pregnancy was still not announced.
The home-made baby suit read “Daddy’s little co-pilot” and the interest in this is an indication that you can expect eyes to be peeled on the baby clothes, baby gifts and baby stroller that the royal couple choose or are given.
“Basically it is absolutely a revenue generator for those businesses associated with fashion, motherhood and pregnancy will clearly benefit around the world,” says Walker.
3. Commemorative plates, coins and memorabilia
Once the royal baby is actually born expect a host of commemorative plates, coins and memorabilia to mark the arrival of a new monarch.
Kevin Moore, the chief executive of CROSSMARK, previously worked for china maker Royal Doulton and at the time of the royal wedding he described how anything with ‘royal’ in it was a great fillip for an industry selling expensive, highly decorated china.
“During my time at Royal Doulton, royal anniversaries, engagements, weddings and even deaths were all thought about seriously by the teams in product development and retail,” Moore said.
“If the product development team and factories couldn’t make it, the retail division sourced it or bought it wholesale from competitors like Wedgwood.
“It was rare that we didn’t have huge sales at high margins and rarer still that we didn’t completely sell out of all this limited-edition product.”
Don’t forget the commemorative tea towels as well; British department store giant Selfridges sold out during the royal wedding.
4. Everyone else
While retailers of maternity wear, baby clothes and products and souvenir items are all obvious recipients of a boost in sales from the royal pregnancy expect to see many other retailers trying to cash in as well.
Moore reported at the time of the royal wedding that he was impressed to see low price and high volume clothing retailer Primark selling royal wedding themed bras, well merchandised with Will, Kate and Crown all incorporated into the display.
One phone retailer was also carrying a special edition royal wedding phone in the colours of a British Union Jack flag and “C&W 29-4-2011” on it.
“It’s easy to be cynical of major events, no matter what type. However, if we don’t commit ourselves to using our best endeavours to harness the shoppers’ high spirits, with clever, time bound or limited edition products – that are well merchandised and positively sold by store staff –all we get to do is watch it on the telly and read blogs about just how high sales have been!” Moore said.