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It'll be a healthy Halloween for many UK retailers

 

Posted At: 29 October 2008 11:59 AM
Related Categories: General

 

The holiday season will soon be upon us and no, I’m not talking about Christmas! This Friday is Halloween of course.

 

Originating from combination of Gaelic and Pagen celebrations, Halloween is now more commonly known for the meaningless joviality surrounding it than for the spiritual connections the night once held.

For the kids, it’s a night of trick-or-treating, for the elderly it’s a time to close the curtains and pretend to be out, and for the under 30’s, it is, predictably, an excuse to get drunk. And all of these things mean good news for the economy (or at the very least for our national happiness levels).

The current poll running on retail-week.com shows that 21% of respondents think Halloween is important to their business. I was confused about this, wondering which retailers would benefit from our pathetic attempt at a spooky celebration; lets face it, compared to Americans, who spent around £2 billion on the festival last year, our interest just doesn’t match up. Until now. It seems that, along with a raft of other American imports, the British have begun to more widely embrace traditions such as trick or treating and jack-o-lantern carving, and retailing during Halloween is booming as a result.

 

In 2001, British spend on Halloween stood at just £12m. 7 years later, numbers are forecast to reach triple figures and major retailers are standing up and taking note.

 

Asda and Woolworths have severely ramped up their Halloween offerings (Asda are currently selling lifesize robotic zombie statues for sale at approx £70 that are awesome), and both are running special themed advertisements. Greeting card retailer Birthdays has taken it one step further by launching special Halloween stores across approximately 18 sites in the UK, and savvy Tesco - having spotted a gap in the market - are offering glow in the dark roses for couples wanting to add a more romantic twist to the night.

 

Halloween is probably my favourite time of the year after Bonfire Night, never having been one for Christmas or any of the other religious festivals, so I’m quite happy to spend some cash on an outfit or two and forget the downturn doom for a while.

 

Some mostly non-retail related Halloween facts for you:

·         About 99% of pumpkins marketed domestically are used as Jack O'Lanterns at Halloween.

·         It is believed that the Irish began the tradition of Trick or Treating. In preparation for All Hallow's Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbors and ask for contributions of food for a feast in the town

·         The average American will spend approximately $24 on a costume, $20 on candy, $18 on decorations and $3 on greeting cards this year, totalling a $65 spend per head

·         Compared with 2007, adult retailers have noticed an explosion in the number of Halloween related goods being sold this year.

·         And finally…the days immediately following Halloween are among the busiest of the year for orthodontists as they add emergency appointments to their schedules and repair braces damaged when patients indulge in inappropriate treats.

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.

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