Prince William and Kate Middleton's much anticipated royal wedding could provide a £620 million shot in the arm for Britain's economy, a retail analyst said.
Yesterday's news that the couple will tie the knot in either spring or summer next year was greeted with excitement by royal fans and most members of the public.
The eyes of the world will be on the pair as they walk down the aisle.
But analysts also predict fans' money will be on them too - with huge amounts spent on wedding souvenirs. British tourism should also be given a boost.
Neil Saunders, consulting director of retail researchers Verdict, said: ''It's hard to put an estimate on what benefit the royal engagement and subsequent wedding will bring to retailers but we believe in merchandise sales alone the engagement could be worth between £12 million and £18 million.
''Although times have changed since the last big royal engagement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, many people will still be keen to buy some form of keepsake or memento and retailers will rush to capitalise on the merchandising opportunities.
''The benefit of the wedding itself is much bigger; however, the scale largely depends on how it will be executed.
''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.
''We think wedding-related merchandise sales could easily top £26 million in the UK, while food and grocery retailers could cash in to the tune of £360 million as consumers buy extra treats to celebrate the occasion as well as Champagne and wine to toast the happy couple.
''All of this is before the benefits of travel and tourism are factored in; these could well add an estimated additional £216 million benefit.
''In total that means we are looking at a £620 million consumer spending boost.
''While that may sound like a lot, it should be remembered that this is a potentially massive event which will command not just the attention of Britons, but potentially most of the world.''