Corgi-shaped cakes, trifle bowls and posh souvenir mugs are among the platinum jubilee-themed products that have hit the spot for shoppers amid a high street battle for the £400m of extra sales riding on the festivities.
Corgi merchandise was one of the big retail trends to emerge, with the small dogs emblazoned on everything from biscuits to mugs, T-shirts and cushions. Marks & Spencer scored a hit with its Queen Connie and Corgi caterpillar cake duo, which sold out in many stores, including on Ocado.
It is estimated that 39 million adults are celebrating the jubilee, with 4.1 million families planning to attend a street party. They will have spent about £45m on jubilee cakes and sweets to share, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), which predicts the overall spending boost will be £408m – part of a wider economic lift that could be as much as £6bn.
The household specialist Lakeland said its £35 vintage-look trifle bowls sold out as soon as a lemon and swiss roll amaretti version of the classic dessert was declared as the official pudding. Cake-stand sales at Waitrose have also doubled with customers searching its website for Victoria sponge and scone recipes with “afternoon tea”.
The retail marketplace OnBuy, which had warned of a potential bunting shortage due to the scramble it saw for party supplies last week, said union flag bunting, party hats and banners were among the products that had sold out.
CRR thinks the souvenir and memorabilia trade will have been worth about £282m, with 6m mugs and 10m flags among the mountain of T-shirts, cushions, stationery and knick-knacks sold.
The pottery brand Emma Bridgewater said most of its platinum jubilee range, which includes Queen Bee mugs and personalised teapots, sold out in advance with the company producing more to meet demand.
Waitrose said it had seen a huge increase in party food orders over the past week for cake, sausage rolls, sandwiches and salad. In a sign of enthusiasm for the jubilee, customers were also buying exclusive products such as a £40 Buckingham Palace Gin and a £46 Moët Rosé champagne.
Another big winner from the jubilee has been English sparkling wine. Sales at Majestic Wine are nearly 60% up on last year, with wines made by the West Sussex winemaker Nyetimber selling well. One in 10 people would share a toast with English fizz, it said, with more than 2.6m bottles expected to be opened.
But royal celebrations bring out the best and worse in retail marketers. The owner of the cult anonymous retail Twitter feed @WHS_carpet, which ran a thread on the best and worse jubilee merchandise, said that on the whole the ranges had been “quite sweet and well-intentioned”.
Products such as Heinz’s HM Sauce and Salad Queen, for example, had raised a smile in supermarket aisles. “A lot of the food products have been quite decent, especially in cakes but a few are pretty lazy and opportunistic,” they said. “Simply applying the word jubilee or platinum to something or using coronation chicken is slack.”
“My favourite is Connie the Caterpillar and the Corgi. [My] least favourite has got to be the Subway platinum meal deal. It will be hard to tell what the failures are until Friday lunchtime [when the discounting begins].”