UK: Royal wedding 'Middleton effect' to boost premium sector
Royal bride-to-be Kate Middleton, third from left, is expected to influence premium shoppers (photo copyright Nick Warner)
Growth of the UK's premium fashion sector is expected to outstrip the country's overall clothing market - thanks in part to next month's royal wedding.
The sector will be worth GBP8.6bn (US$13.9bn) by 2014, up 29% from its current value, according to research by Barclays Corporate.
Sales are forecast to benefit from the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April, with Barclays terming this the 'Middleton effect'.
Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays Corporate said: "Kate Middleton is expected to do for many British High Street names what Michelle Obama did for J Crew in the US. Shoppers really get inspired by these big glossy images of her in styles which are very accessible."
Barclays said that despite slowing sales in recent months, the luxury sector has "defied recessionary trends" with a 6.2% increase in growth over the past two years.
Lowe added: "This is starting to be borne out by a subtle shift in consumer mindset which is taking shape. Consumers want quality as well as value, and are happy to trade up to buy statement pieces. That said, the value end of the market will remain buoyant and enjoy continued growth."
Barclays found that the number of consumers shopping at the value end of the market has more than doubled during the past decade, saying 57% of consumers regularly use value retailers.
It forecast that the value segment of the UK market will grow by 21% to GBP9.9bn in the next three years – slower than pre-recessionary growth rates. As a whole, Barclays expects the UK clothing industry to grow 9% by 2014.
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