Sales & Marketing

England may be out, but Rugby World Cup drives spending spike in pubs and sport stores

4 min read

12 October 2015

Former deputy editor

The expectations of Britain's businesses were high ahead of the Rugby World Cup and Barclaycard has found that the tournament drove a September sales spike in pubs, off licences and sport stores as shoppers got into the spirit of the game – although this may change now England is out of the running.

Before the Rugby World Cup kicked off on 18 September, research from EY found 466,000 overseas visitors were expected to visit the UK and help fuel the economy with £2.2bn.

Vouchercodes.co.uk’s MD Claire Davenport explained to Real Business that Brits had already started looking for discount TVs and sportswear in early August and said she expected to see similar spending trends to those experienced during the FIFA World Cup last year.

“Should UK teams do well in the Rugby World Cup, we would expect to see a similar pattern of consumer activity and for retailers across all industries to benefit from a boost in spending over the course of the competition,” said Davenport.

While things didn’t go according to plan the England team, which fell out of the competition on 3 October, the Rugby World Cup did, as Davenport expected, drive a sales increase.

Research from Barclaycard has revealed that, at 3.7 per cent, September experienced a higher spending increase than August’s three per cent. That said, the growth was down on 4.8 per cent in September the previous year.

The study hailed the rugby competition as the reason for powering September’s expenditure, while August sales slacked due to well-documented downpours, much to the upset of many businesses.

Read more on the Rugby World Cup and its impact on business:

The research found that the purchase of new rugby shirts drove the clothing spend up by 8.1 per cent annually, while sales in sports shops increased by 9.9 per cent. Breaking down the numbers further, men’s clothing grew significantly at a rate of 30.5 per cent, which marks the highest increase on record.

Elsewhere, entertainment spending rose by 12.8 per cent, with the spend in pubs rising by 11.6 per cent and restaurants by 12.6 per cent, which marked the 26th consecutive month of double-digit growth, according to the report.

Furthermore, the World Cup also helped generate a 15.9 per cent increased off licence spend. That’s great news for the economy, especially after research championed Britain’s boozers for pumping £10bn into the nation’s finances through alcohol tax.

Charging into the Rugby World Cup could make a champion of your business

The overall spend in Q3, however, was 3.8 per cent – down from 4.5 per cent in Q2. As such, it’s thought shoppers are holding back on spending ahead of the festive season.

“Whilst the Rugby World Cup helped spend growth recover in September, it remained below both the level of increase we saw last year and the average level we’ve seen this year. After a record-breaking Q2, which saw the highest level of growth in two years, consumers seem to be ‘pausing for breath’ before the run-up to Christmas begins,” said Chris Wood, MD at Barclaycard.

“We’ve seen sustained increases in many categories of spending on the back of average earnings increasing at their strongest level in nearly six years, sustained low inflation and growing consumer confidence. Looking ahead to the last quarter, a majority of consumers say they feel positive about their finances and plan to spend more on non-essentials, meaning it could be a good end to the year for many retailers.”

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