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Beer and big TVs: World Cup fever gives retail boost

Sky News logo Sky News 10/07/2018
a man standing in front of a crowd © Getty

Demand for beer, barbeques and big-screen televisions ahead of the World Cup lifted retail sales last month.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said like-for-like sales increased by 1.1% in June, compared to 1.2% in the same month a year ago. Total sales increased 2.3% in June, against an increase of 2% in June 2017.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "Beer, barbeques and big TVs lifted June's sales as warm weather and World Cup fever gripped the nation.

"However, with consumers engrossed in the agony and ecstasy of each match, spending on many other items fell.

"In the end, June scored solid, but not sensational, sales."

Watch: England squad warm up with rubber chickens [Sky News]

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In a separate survey, Barclaycard said consumer spending grew 5.1% year-on-year in June, with consumers keen to make the most of the summer and the World Cup.

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation's credit and debit card transactions, shows that non-essential spending grew 5.5%, its best performance since October 2016.

Pub expenditure rose 9.5% in June, with spending increasing 33% on the day of England's first match against Tunisia.

The betting industry also stands to benefit from football fever, with a turnover of £1.2bn, according to bookmaker William Hill.

"I imagine that England-Croatia will be the biggest match of the World Cup so far with potentially over £10m set to be wagered," Joe Crilly, spokesperson for William Hill, told Sky News.

If Harry Kane and his teammates go on to win the World Cup they could deliver an "unadulterated" boost to the UK economy, the governor of the Bank of England has said.

Mark Carney, speaking last week at a Northern Powerhouse business summit, was asked what the economic impact would be if England won the tournament.

Wearing a Three Lions lapel badge, Mr Carney smiled broadly and said it would be very positive.

"It would be an unalloyed, unadulterated, absolute good," he said. "Everything would be good."

However, the BRC's Helen Dickinson struck a note of caution: "The reality is that sales don't grow on the feel-good factor alone.

"With household incomes still barely growing faster than inflation, conditions for consumers and retailers remain extremely tough.

"And things could get tougher: once the euphoria of sporting success subsides, without a deal on Brexit, shoppers face the prospect of significant price increases and shortages of everyday goods.

"Even if England do go all the way, households may have little to celebrate come next April."

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