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Power of the Muslim pound


MAINSTREAM MOVE: More Muslims are shopping with major brands like Sainsbury’s
at Ramadan; and (inset) Noor Jahan Ali
MAINSTREAM MOVE: More Muslims are shopping with major brands like Sainsbury’s at Ramadan; and (inset) Noor Jahan Ali

by ANDY MARINO RAMADAN NOW BIG BUSINESS IN UK BRITAIN’S Muslim population is just under three million, accord­ing to the latest census (2011), and accounts for about five per cent of the total population. It is estimated that a third of the Mus­lim population lives in London. This is a nationwide community with an enormously varied but dis­tinct identity, and as Ramadan ap­proaches retailers can expect cer­tain patterns of shopping to emerge. Fasting during daylight hours will impact retail grocery, but not in a simple way. A drop in normal lev­els of consumption will be accom­panied by other, sometimes high­er-value purchases for the evening meal as Muslim families celebrate the end of the daily fast, perhaps by inviting friends or family to the iftar supper and substituting expen­sive delicacies for affordable staples. It is estimated that extra spend­ing specifically tied to Ramadan is at least £200 million, half of it in supermarkets – Tesco sees a 70 per cent increase in sales of pro­motional items, worth on average £30m. Nationally, after Christmas and Easter, Ramadan is the big­gest consumer event of the year. Other areas of the high street will also see patterns of spending, ones that are particular to Mus­lims and to the period of Rama­dan – especially the festival of Eid Ul Fitr, which celebrates its close, with gifts and feasting. Some shop­ping centres report an increase in footfall of up to 47 per cent dur­ing Eid, with fashion and clothing performing particularly well. In overall terms, “the Muslim pound” – sitting in the wallets and purses of young Muslims, or “Generation M” (more than half of UK Muslims are under 19) – is estimated to be worth £21 billion annually to the UK economy, with £3bn being spent just on halal food. With the size of the…

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