Will the World Cup benefit retailers?
IT’S that time again. Every four years we’re infected with World Cup fever as a wave of patriotism sweeps our nation. Even David Cameron has announced that Downing Street will fly the flag for England!
So now that the tournament has kicked off, our supermarkets, websites and shops are all competing to get in on the action, but will it benefit everyone?
According to polls, UK retail expenditure is expected to receive a £1.3 billion boost during this summer’sWorld Cup in South Africa, so that’s the good news. But the bad news is that the uplift will only be in certain retail subsectors and it goes without saying that this increase in sales relies upon the success of the England team at the tournament and the ensuing feelgood factor this generates. So, I guess there’ll be a few fingers and toes crossed over the next few weeks.
Unfair as it might seem, the benefits of the World Cup aren’t evenly spread. Town centres will mostly suffer from declining footfall, with department stores in particular being the worst affected as shoppers stay home for the games and spend their money elsewhere (although personally, we always see a surge in football widows enjoying the quiet aisles during games).
There’ll be extra money spent on food and drink, so our supermarkets are the big winners here as people have their World Cup parties – barbecue sales are soaring! Most supermarkets are using alcohol sales as a way to increase footfall, but of course they’re cutting their margins to do so.
TVs are another big spend area, with retailers such as Curry’s offering money back for every goal England scores! In the 2006 tournament, the new flat screenTVs made electrical retailers a lot of money, but despite the emergence of 3D & LED televisions these are still not mass market enough for impulse purchases given the poor state of the economy. Still, there’s enough hype to keep electrical retailers very happy.
Retailers like Sainsbury are offering their staff World Cup hours, which is one way to cut down on absenteeism. While M&S has the World Cup winners from 1966 as the front men for their ad campaign which is a nice touch. Although my favourite product is still the B&Q World Cup garden gnome – it’s one of those things you never knew you wanted till you saw it – trust me!
Excitement over the World Cup and better weather boosted high street sales last month, but generally consumers are still watching their spending and waiting to see if they’ll be affected by the cuts that our new government is making clear are going to impact us all.
So we’re talking about a prolonged period of yet more uncertainty for business owners.The BRC is promoting cuts in spending, not tax or VAT increases. Analysts predict that raising the VAT rate to 20 per cent would raise about £11.5 billion a year for the nation’s finances which must surely be tempting them.
So, while you could never call me a football fan, I was inspired by the enthusiasm and pride of the South African people at the opening ceremony and the games since, and that’s something I wish we saw more of here in the UK and especially in Peterborough.
Our new fountains were recently unveiled in Cathedral Square and while they’ve had their detractors I, for one, think they were worth the wait. We have a great view of them from our shop and since their unveiling, they’ve brought a welcome feelgood factor to the city centre.
So, Waku Waku ! – Lets enjoy the spirit of the World Cup!