It’s hard not to feel a little down about the start of 2012’s Great British Summer.
We don’t seem to have got off to a great start, with drought in some areas and floods in others, airport chaos, and concerns over the legacy of the Olympics to local London businesses - not to mention the double-dip recession.
However, I am still feeling positive, and firmly believe that the summer of 2012 continues to hold much promise for retail. Without a doubt, visitors will still come to the Olympics, and we will join together to celebrate the Diamond jubilee, as we did just over a year ago with the Royal Wedding.
While this Bank Holiday may be a little colder than we had hoped, we already have many suppliers and retailers entering into the British Spirit. As well as liberally sprinkled use of Union Jacks, Kingsmill will change - for a limited period only - to Queensmill, Kit Kat has temporarily turned into Brit Kat and, at Mars, our own Celebrations have become Jubilations. These are to name but a few of the patriotic moves designed to help raise pride in Britain, and to put smiles on faces whatever the weather or the depressed economy may throw at us.
The sales potential is also there, with recent YouGov research for Mars confirming British consumers expect to spend £334m more over the Jubilee Bank Holiday, compared with a regular Friday to Monday period. And almost one in five adults say they are more likely to notice and purchase products labelled ‘Made in Britain’ given the British focus of this year’s events.
Of course, we must take heed of concerns and plan effectively to minimise the disruption around the year’s exciting events. But let’s not get distracted by all of the doom and gloom and talk ourselves into making matters worse. Let’s instead concentrate on the positives, turning the potential difficulties into true retail successes.
So, my Bank Holiday wish is a simple one: that we cast our umbrellas aside and use this summer to do what Britain does best - overcome adversity with Great British spirit and pride! And I was born in Dublin!