If you have been to London lately, you would have to be living under a rock (or an egg) not to take notice of 200 eggs — each about 2 1/2 feet tall and designed by a different artist — scattered around the city.
No, this is not a sci-fi movie, and as far as I know the Brits are not being invaded by the pod people. (Although some of the eggs have gone missing — they were stolen, not hatched.)
The Big Egg Hunt is sponsored by Faberge and will most likely break the Guinness World Record for the largest Easter Egg Hunt in the world. The goal is to raise £1 million for each of two charities: Action for Children and The Elephant Family, which supports Asian elephants whose numbers have dwindled 90 percent in the last century.
I have not seen so much excitement in the city since Kate and Wills tied the knot. And that excitement is translating into incremental dollars at retailers’ cash registers. While expecting the magnitude of the “Kate and Wills” retail effect is unrealistic, there is clearly a traffic boost in all the right locations.
In Mayfair, a neighborhood synonomous with luxury, there are 47 eggs to be found mixed among well-known brands such as Tiffany , Mulberry, Coach , Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Faberge, DVF, and Selfridge’s.
And if the man bag is not enough to lure your mate into the Burlington Arcade, it is also the home of five eggs and, equally important, the only men’s Jimmy Choo shoe store in the world.
The treasure hunt, complete with zone maps, should help the luxury boom in London keep on rolling. Not that the high-end needs any help. I cannot resist sharing that there was a wait list last weekend to get sales help at the Chanel store on Bond Street.
The timing for Faberge’s involvement was probably no coincidence. The brand recently opened up a retail store in Mayfair after a hiatus of almost a century. The uber-luxury jewelry maker teamed up with the two charities and is hoping to take advantage of the excitement as we approach the Diamond Jubilee, the Queen’s 60th anniversary. And who could forget the Olympics to complete the trifecta for London? Not a bad year to be a London-based retailer. These major event traffic drivers to London are so crucial UK Sunday retail restrictions will be lifted for the Summer Olympic period.
Winning the Faberge Crowning Jewel
A little incentive doesn’t hurt, especially when the prize is the Diamond Jubliee Egg, valued at £100,000. (Well, it is not close to the $18.5 million recently fetched for an egg auctioned in 2007, but it's not too shabby.)
Players can text the code for each egg they find to the donation hotline. For a small fee, they may wind up closer to winning.
And if you are just too lazy to hunt and text? Do not worry, a fiberglass egg can still be yours! Thirty of the eggs will be auctioned on March 20 at a private fundraiser.
Expectations are for a £2M raise. Sounds like a big number, but consider the previous 2010 Elephant Parade in London (same concept and donations went to one of the same charities The Elephant Family). The previous auction raised £4M (or about $6.3 million) and attracted a high bid of $252,600.
Stacey Widlitz is the President of SW Retail Advisors Inc. She has worked at UBS, SG Cowen, Fulcrum Partners and in 2005 was one of three analysts to launch the Research Department at Pali Capital, where she covered Retail and Home Video for 5 years. You can follow Stacey on Twitter at @staceyretail.