England's early World Cup exit dashes UK pubs' bumper summer hopes

Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:08am EDT
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By Jack Stubbs

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 since 1958.

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 and Uruguay.

"We really went all in for it this time - projectors, decorations, the whole lot," he told Reuters, referring to the multi-colored bunting and national flags lining the traditional wood-panel led bar. "It just hasn't been worth it for only two weeks."

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 Center 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.   Continued...

A England soccer fan holds a glass with her nails painted in her teams colours as she watches her team play against Italy during the 2014 World Cup at a bar in central London June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall