Halloween boosts consumer spending


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British consumers are spending more on Halloween merchandise than ever. Waitrose announced yesterday it had seen a hefty rise in sales of its horror-themed goods compared to last year, and across the country it is contending with Valentine's Day to be the biggest consumer event after Christmas and Easter.

Halloween is already recognised as providing an economic boost to retailers in the US, where the National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend $8bn (£5bn) on festivities this year, meaning the average person will spend £5 more than they did in 2011.

Just over a decade ago, consumer spending on Halloween in the UK amounted to £12m, but it is now a £300m+ industry. Retail experts have speculated Halloween has shed its reputation as a holiday for children, while frightening franchises such as Harry Potter and Twilight have helped cement its popularity.

At Waitrose, sales of spider cupcakes and chocolate brownies are up 19 per cent on last year, while buyers have taken home 65 per cent more prepacked Halloween cakes than in 2011. Chocolate treat packs have also gone up 86 per cent.

Waitrose seasonal manager Alison McLoughlin said: "Halloween is one of the fastest growing seasonal events in the UK and this year is going be the biggest ever. We've ordered in 25 per cent more stock of all party props to cope with demand."