From canceled soccer matches to store closures, the UK economy is grinding to a halt as the country mourns the Queen — and may hasten a recession that previously looked avoidable

  • Businesses including the London Zoo, Legoland and Selfridges closed on Friday as a mark of respect.
  • The Bank of England predicted a 12-month recession for the UK starting at the end of the year.
  • Closures of stores and tourist sites could harm businesses as they face a looming recession.

Britain is mourning the death of its longest-serving monarch as its economy teeters on the brink of a recession — and needs all the support it can get. 

In response to the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 on Thursday, many British businesses have scaled back their operations out of respect. 

These measures, however, could make life harder for a British economy that isn’t exactly in a position to take days off. In August, the Bank of England predicted that the UK would enter a year-long recession beginning at the end of this year. And while a few days of business closures may not tip the UK into a recession, it won’t help matters. 

The Tower of London, the London Zoo, and Legoland Windsor are among the businesses that closed on Friday, and the department store Selfridges will remain closed through this weekend.

In the sports world, the Premier League is postponing games through next Monday, in addition to the many golf and horse racing events that have been adjusted as well.

Clothing retailer French Connection closed all its stores on Friday, while luxury brands Burberry and Raf Simons have canceled their London fashion week shows that were set to take place next week, according to multiple reports.

The British Fashion Council said that London fashion week would still go ahead, but that the shows on the day of the Queen’s funeral will be canceled.

Further alterations could come in the mourning period leading up to the funeral on Monday, September 19, which could see another uptick in business closures. That is highly likely given King Charles said on Saturday that the day of the funeral will be a national holiday.

In the US, where the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to combat inflation, one might argue that a brief spending holiday could help ease price pressures and allow the Fed to scale back rate hikes. But while inflation in the UK is even higher — hitting a 40-year high of 10.1% in July — there’s reason to believe this won’t be quite so effective. 

That’s because while the US could see energy prices rise in the coming months, the UK’s are expected to skyrocket — potentially pushing inflation to over 20% next year. The looming crisis led new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss to announce a $150 billion plan to freeze household energy bills over the next 18 months. 

Whether Brits cuts back on their spending over the next week, energy prices — and inflation — are set to rise significantly. Less money flowing into the local museum or department store arguably only hurts those businesses and those who work for them.