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LONDON – Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting their first child within days, and U.K. and global media outlets are gearing up for what is expected to be the biggest royals story of the year.
British experts say that the royal birth will have a broader effect on the local economy, with bookies and retail sales seen as being among the beneficiaries. Overall, the economic boost could hit more than $400 million, according to estimates.
Here is an overview:
Spending on festivities and souvenirs:
The royal birth will directly boost U.K. retail sales by around $367 million (£243 million), according to an estimate by the Centre for Retail Research in Nottingham, England. The figure covers all of July and August.
Festivities-related expenses will lead the way with an estimated $131 million (£87 million) in additional business thanks to the royal baby, according to the research. That includes increased spending on alcohol ($94 million, or £62 million), with the group predicting three million bottles of champagne and sparkling wine will be opened across the country, mostly in informal celebrations, to celebrate the baby.
“We expect plenty of people, not necessarily fervent royalists, to welcome the happy event in a demonstrative way,” the center said in a report.
Souvenirs and toys tied to the baby could bring in $121 million (£80 million), a figure that includes items sold overseas, it estimated.
And spending on royals- and royal baby-related books, DVDs and media could reach $115 million (£76 million), according to the Centre for Retail Research.
Beyond sales within the U.K., sales abroad of souvenirs, toys, books and DVD/media could also add to the economic impact to the tune of $56 million (£37 million), according to the center. That estimate includes overseas sales by U.K. online retailers.
“There is considerable interest in this event across the world, but particularly in North America, parts of Europe and Australia and New Zealand,” the center’s report said. “The Cambridges are seen as a “good news” story and surprisingly normal.
Spending on royal baby bets:
Bookies and betters are also looking to make money off the royal baby.
Bookmaker William Hill says the royal baby betting market might see $150,000 spent on various bets – from the gender and name of the baby to its hair color.
But that would be a minimal sum compared to the hundreds of millions of pounds placed on Britain’s annual Grand National horse race.
Spending on baby products:
“Since the announcement that the Duchess was pregnant, there has been considerable interest in her changing shape, the sex of the baby, what new things she is wearing, as well as the baby products that are being acquired,” according to the report from the Centre for Retail Research.
It projects that in the months after the baby is born money spent on strollers could rise by 13 percent, or $50 million (£33 million) “as new parents “trade up” to more exclusive baby carriages following a trend that is expected to be set by the royals.”
Said the center: “The lucky manufacturer can expect a similar boost in sales to that achieved by iCandy Peach when Victoria Beckham adopted one for her daughter Harper.”
Observers have already spoken of the “Kate Effect” in such areas as fashion as items that Middleton wears tend to see a sales boost.
Similar gains are also expected to be made by the manufacturers of the royal baby’s clothes, crib and other products associated with the baby and its parents, according to the center.
Stuart Kemp contributed to this article.
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