England's World Cup feelgood factor could be worth millions to Norfolk
While England fans will be hoping Harry Kane, Dele Alli and co can hit the back of the net on Wednesday, businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk are already celebrating victory.
The national team’s run to the semi-finals, combined with the summer heatwave, has meant a run of bumper takings not only for pubs but also other retailers as shoppers have cast off their caution and embraced the feelgood factor by splurging on food, drink and tech.
It all adds up to a spending spree that could be worth tens of millions of pounds to the region’s economy, according to a specialist in sports economics at the University of East Anglia.
Dr Peter Dawson, a reader in economics at the UEA’s school of economics, said: “Research suggests that people spend up to 25% more in restaurants and bars during major sporting events, based on previous tournaments, and potentially that could go up even more if England qualify for the final.”
National reports have estimated an England victory on Sunday could be worth £2.7bn to the country.
“It’s likely to be diverted spending however,” said Dr Dawson. “Consumers might be spending more on memorabilia or replica shirts, but they’ll cut back in other areas.”
Aside from England’s success, the tournament has also served to correct misconceptions about the host country, with travel agents reporting renewed interest in Russian holidays.
Paul Waters, director of Premier Holidays, which has branches across the East of England, said: “Sales to Russia haven’t skyrocketed but since the World Cup started we have seen general interest from customers in visiting Russia on holiday, which we are attributing to the World Cup coverage.
“Russia is not a usual destination to book this time of year as it’s normally all about late deals to summer sun countries, so we have definitely seen increased interest.”
Meanwhile, tickets for two of Norfolk’s favourite World Cup destinations have been in high demand.
Fans queued outside the Railway Tavern in Dereham for one of 500 tickets, while the same number of spots at Open in Norwich sold out in just five minutes.
The latest retail sales monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found “beers, barbecues and big screen TVs” had boosted June sales by 1.1pc - but warned that shoppers had cut back in other areas.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Beer, barbecues 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.”