World Cup and hot weather boost supermarkets' food sales

England’s progress in the World Cup – combined with an uninterrupted run of hot weather – is giving UK supermarkets a multi-million pound sales fillip as shoppers stock up with beer, barbecue food and ice cream.

Retailers say their sales reflect the wider celebratory mood, with fans watching the games from home shelling out for football parties and al fresco gatherings ahead of upcoming games.

Over the last week sales of BBQ foods, salads, ice cream, beer, and wine have been the most popular items bought at Tesco, which predicts a further sales uplift in the run-up to England’s quarter-final game with Sweden on Saturday afternoon.

Demand for beer at the UK’s largest retailer last week was the strongest this year and this week it predicts sales will be even higher. It has also notched up the best summer barbecue meat sales for several years.

By the end of the week Tesco expects to have sold more than a million burgers and hot dog rolls, six million ice lollies, around one million tubs of ice cream, nearly 50 million bottles or cans of beer and nearly a million bottles of wine.

“Fantastic weather and the world’s biggest sporting event are creating a real carnival atmosphere across Britain this week,” said Tesco barbecue foods buyer, Natalie Bastow.

“The mere mention of a heatwave is enough to change shopping plans and judging by sales many people are enjoying al fresco dining right now. With the added excitement of the World Cup and England doing well many people are inviting friends and family over to enjoy the fun together.”

The British Retail Consortium predicts consumers will embark on a £90bn spending spree over the summer – which includes TVs and barbecues – as a buoyant mood sweeps the UK.

At Waitrose sales of Pimm’s had risen by 21% compared to the same week in 2017, fizz sales were up by 45%, beer enjoyed a spike in sales of 70% while burgers and sausages had a sales uplift of 55% and 20% respectively. Crisps and nuts have risen by 13%, with sales of ice up by 125%.

The hot weather has also triggered a week of record sales of ice lollies at Waitrose – with sales up 188% – and ice cream cones up by 100%.

Iceland said it set a new ice lolly sales record on the hottest day of the year so far, last Wednesday, up 340% compared to the same day in 2017.

Sales of Iceland’s BBQ barbecue range shot up 74%, with one of its best-selling products, a BBQ Selection Pack (£5, 1.8kg) soaring by 447% year-on-year on the same day.

“The fantastic temperatures – and the World Cup – have meant that shoppers have been coming in their droves this week to buy frozen food and drink,” said Nigel Broadhurst, Iceland managing director.

In the run-up to Saturday’s crunch game, Sainsbury’s is predicting a 40% increase in sales of pizza, crisps and dips, party food and snacks, compared to an average week, and a 50% uplift in beer sales. Argos expects a 80% boost in sales of barbecue sets and accessories, compared to the same period last year.

In an unexpected sales boost, Marks & Spencer – the official suit supplier to the England team since 2007 – said demand for waistcoats has risen 35% thanks to what they say is “the Gareth Southgate effect”.


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