They say that Romans celebrated 135 feast days a year, and that a mediaeval peasant worked for only half the year. Thanks to the coronation, the UK will enjoy nine bank holidays this year, instead of our usual eight – still miserly by modern European standards (see chart).
In economic terms, bank holidays are a double-edged sword. They dent overall productivity, and are bad news for firms who are forced to close for a day and still pay staff. Yet they are a boon for those businesses that see increased traffic. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimates that retail sales are boosted by 15 per cent per day for a bank holiday, with sales skewing towards furniture, gardening and DIY. Hospitality and catering are also boosted by 20 per cent compared with a typical weekend.
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