World Cup delivers consumer spending boost as pubs rake in 10 per cent more cash

Jasper Jolly
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Colombia v England: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
England fans have rushed to the pub as the football team has progressed (Source: Getty)

The World Cup prompted the biggest spike in non-essential consumer spending in June since October 2016, as Britons spent 33 per cent more in pubs during England’s first match.

Non-essential spending jumped by 5.5 per cent in June compared to the previous year, the strongest year-on-year growth since October 2016, according to data to be published today by Barclaycard.

Overall consumer spending grew by 5.1 per cent, similar to growth last year. Essential spending on food and fuel was dragged back by poor supermarket spending growth of only 0.8 per cent.

Read more: Britons basking in bank holiday sun prompt May consumer spending recovery

The data from Barclaycard, which has sight of nearly half of the UK’s card transactions, show that overall pub spending rose by 9.5 per cent in June.

Economists – even including the Bank of England’s bosses – had predicted a rise in spending as the World Cup swung into action, with England’s unexpected run to the semi-final tomorrow, at 7pm against Croatia, likely adding a further boost in the data for the current month. Belgium play France in the other semi-final tonight.

Consumer spending has weakened during the past year as high inflation ate into the real value of Britons’ wage packets. However, inflation has since eased, leading some economists to expect stronger spending.

Read more: MPs concerned by business rates as worst year for high street looms

A bounceback in spending would provide welcome relief for the high street, which has suffered a torrid year of bankruptcies, store closures and job losses.

Unusually warm weather has helped traditional summer purchases, with garden centres seeing sales rise by 10.5 per cent year-on-year.

Esme Harwood, a director at Barclaycard, said: “Consumer spending maintained its strong growth in June for the second month in a row. As the warm weather continues and World Cup fever sets in, it’s clear many households are prioritising fun in the sun while making the most of the summer’s best experiences.

“While some lingering caution remains, confidence in household finances is at a 12-month high. This may be good news for retailers, especially as many shoppers are keen to use their spending power to help their local high street.”

Read more: Greene King hopes for World Cup boost as adjusted profits fall 11 per cent

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