England's Early World Cup Exit Hits British Pub Operators As People Fans Stay Home
Leading British pub chains said that England's "dismal World Cup campaign in Brazil was doubly disappointing for Britain's pub operators," with the team's early exit prompting football fans "to stay at home to watch the rest of the tournament," according to Neil Maidment of REUTERS. Mitchells & Butlers, whose chains include All Bar One and Harvester, blamed the football showpiece for "keeping sales flat at its pubs open for more than a year in its financial third quarter." It said that "average food spending had fallen in a 'weak' eating and drinking market in May and June." A report by the Centre for Retail Research said that had England made it past the World Cup's first-round group stage, that would have been worth £175M ($297M) to Britain's bars, pubs and restaurants. Instead, supermarkets "are likely to have benefited as fans chose to buy their food and drink and watch games at home." Rival pub firm Marston's said that the tournament "had failed to ignite sales in its third quarter." The firm said, "The impact of the World Cup was broadly neutral, with higher drinks sales offset by weaker food performance in our pubs, and strong sales growth in the off-trade" (REUTERS, 7/24).