Independent retailers outshone the England football team at the opening weekend of the World Cup.
Despite expectations for the team being lower than previous tournaments, stores saw a rush on alcohol and snacks on Saturday evening for England’s opening match against Italy.
“It was a steady day, but got busy just before the alcohol section closed and there was a mad dash at half-time, too. Alcohol sales were up about 35%, while sales of sharing bags and snacks increased massively.”
Adam Hogwood, Morrison’s Budgens, Broadstairs, Kent
“Beers and snacks did well, but so too did ready meals and fresh food as people came in looking for something easy to prepare for the game.”
Alkesh Gadher, Best-One Isleworth, London
Raj Aggarwal of Londis Wigston in Leicestershire opened an extra two hours to take advantage of the late kick-off and said sales rocketed. “Beers, snacks, soft drinks and impulse all did very well and it was definitely worth opening the extra two hours,” he said. “We’ll consider doing it again for some of the other games.”
He said he expected the momentum to continue if England managed to get through the group stage. “The longer England stay in the tournament, the longer we have great sales,” said Raj. “It lifts the entire country and gets people spending.”
Sales at Spar Pewsey in Wiltshire also soared on the evening of England’s first game, with the last customer of the day having spent £120 on spirits, business development manager Susan Connolly said.
“We gave away a free glass with every four-pack of beer and painted faces for a small donation to our charity. All the staff dressed up,” she said.
Alcohol sales were up 47% at Singh’s Premier in Sheffield. “Confectionery was up 20%, too, even though we closed at 10pm because we wanted to watch the game as well,” Mandeep Singh said.
He attributed the sales growth to the hard work that his team did to promote the tournament. “Customers want to see the flags and bunting in the store and that boosts sales.”
The store is giving away footballs and pumps to kids during England games, and Mandeep hopes there will be a few more for the team. “From both a fan and a business point of view, I hope England go all the way to the final,” he said. “On match days, it’s busier here than it is on a weekend so the more games the better.”