| LONDON, June 24
LONDON, June 24 British bars and pubs are
already counting the costs of England's early World Cup exit,
their expectations of a bumper summer dashed by the team's
failure to make it through the tournament's first round.
England's World Cup performance had been expected to add
millions of pounds to the British economy as fans packed out
watering holes for live match screenings and a wave of consumer
goodwill swept the high street.
But now smaller business owners' dreams of a lucrative
summer have been ruined by England's worst World Cup performance
Many of Britain's bars and pubs have also been left out of
pocket and struggling to recover costly investments in new TVs
and lavish decorations made in a bid to attract fans.
"The atmosphere has changed dramatically now; people are
still spending but not like they were," said Kieran Smith,
manager of the Corrib Rest pub in west London which hosted
sell-out crowds for England's first two matches against Italy
"We really went all in for it this time - projectors,
decorations, the whole lot," he told Reuters, referring to the
multi-coloured bunting and national flags lining the traditional
wood-panelled bar. "It just hasn't been worth it for only two
Had England made it past the World Cup's first round group
stage, that would have been worth 175 million pounds ($297.64
million) to Britain's bars, pubs and restaurants within a 1
billion pound ($1.7 billion) consumer spending spree, according
to a report by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).
Qualification for next month's final in Rio de Janeiro,
which was not expected by even the most optimistic of fans,
would have been worth almost 2.6 billion pounds to the British
retail and leisure industry, the report said.
However, analysts said that while domestic markets often
suffer a blip after a major national sporting defeat, the UK
economy experienced its fastest growth in more than six months
in the first half of 2014 and is unlikely to be affected in the
Professor Josh Bamfield, author of the CRR report, said
increased consumer spending would continue for the duration of
the World Cup and many larger businesses had actually prepared
for an early England exit.
"It's very sad and unfortunate that this has happened, but
no one can say it wasn't expected," he said.
Britain's supermarkets are forecast to make hundreds of
millions pounds in World Cup merchandise, food and alcohol sales
and Morrisons, Britain's No. 4 grocer, said customer
spending was largely unaffected by the fate of the national
"Fans will continue to watch the World Cup and we expect
sales to be more affected by the weather rather than England not
making it through to the next round," a Morrisons spokesperson
Britain's bookmakers expected fewer bets to be placed on
England's last match on Tuesday but said they were likely to
make up the difference as punters turned to other teams.
Market leader William Hill said it had already
taken over 12 million pounds on England's first two matches and
was likely to take more than 200 million pounds on the
But England's defeat has hit closer to home for some pubs
that had prepared for crowds of fans.
Staff at the Star of Kings pub in north London fitted new
TVs and refurbished the basement area to cater for World Cup
fans. Manager Chris Bown said they now stand to miss out on
thousands of pounds when England play Costa Rica in their last
game on Tuesday.
"Last week the phone was ringing off the hook with people
making bookings, but this time round we haven't had a single
call. If we still had even the smallest chance, would
still be a massive night, but that just isn't going to happen
($1 = 0.5880 British pounds)
(Editing by Mark Heinrich)