Brits stay put for Easter splurge as retail and leisure sectors gear up for spending spree

Helen Cahill
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"Staycations" have become more popular since the Brexit vote (Source: Getty)

Shops, pubs and restaurants are banking on a bumper Easter break, with analysts saying the well-timed long weekend should provide a boost to Britain's retail and hospitality sectors.

Millions of Britons will to opt for a "staycation", holidaying closer to home and giving a much-needed lift to the UK high street.

Read more: Trouble in store: More pain on the way for UK retail

VisitEngland expects 6.6m Britons to remain in the UK for Easter, 10 per cent more than last year. Holidaymakers hopping to seaside spots and market towns are expected to give a £1.7bn boost to the domestic economy.

Footfall on UK high streets is forecast to step up by as much as 8.8 per cent, according to figures from Springboard.

Springboard director Diane Wehrle said businesses can expect a cracking Easter due to the mild spring weather and a continuing trend for consumer spending on leisure and hospitality.

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Britons are planning to spend £247 each, according to American Express, with most of the money going on accommodation, meals out, and transport. And, as the nation hunts for the perfect Easter retreat, the roads will be heaving. More than 20m vehicles will hit the motorway, traffic analysts INRIX said, up 30 per cent on last year.

Retailers are in dire need of an Easter bounce. The sector has been labouring under a slowdown in spending on the high street, and unprecedented cost increases from the national living wage and business rates.

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Consumers are expected to flock to seaside towns (Source: Getty)

A string of well-known brands have fallen into administration so far this year, with Jaeger becoming the most recent casualty on the high street. Some businesses, such as Jones Bootmaker, were resurrected last minute through pre-pack deals.

Read more: Tesco profits leap as sales grow for the first time in seven years

The hospitality industry has been faring better than retail in recent months, with consumers opting to spend their money in coffee shops over fashion stores.

Wehrle said March's figures, with footfall lifting 1.2 per cent overall, showed leisure spending was driving consumers onto the high street.

She said:

The trend for increased leisure and hospitality trips continues as data shows footfall on high streets outside of retail trading hours was much stronger than working hours, indicating that retail is not the key driver of footfall.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will rake in £280m in card spending over the next few days, according to payments operator Worldpay, a 15 per cent rise on the usual Friday to Monday period.

"For operators, Easter is now a close second to Christmas as a benchmark period," said Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM.

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