LONDON (Reuters) - The marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton next year could give a 620 million pound ($985 million) boost to the British economy, retail researchers Verdict said on Wednesday.
The forecast came as Asda, Britain's second-biggest supermarket group, said it was already selling a 5 pound mug to commemorate the engagement of the heir to the British throne to his long-term girlfriend, announced on Tuesday.
Verdict estimated the engagement could be worth 12-18 million pounds in merchandise sales, while sales of wedding-related products could top 26 million pounds.
The real boost to the economy, however, could come from creating a "feel-good factor" among consumers that proved elusive this year with the England team's dismal performance in the soccer World Cup.
"If, as expected, it is a big set-piece event, it could well capture the nation's imagination and provide a fillip to the retail sector," said Verdict consulting director Neil Saunders.
Verdict forecast food and grocery retailers could benefit to the tune of 360 million pounds as shoppers buy treats like wine and champagne to toast the happy couple, while travel and tourism revenues could be boosted by an estimated 216 million.
Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by Dan Lalor