World Cup distraction could hit businesses

A good run or even victory for England at the World Cup, which kicks off
today, could see an ‘unparalleled boost in consumer spending’ but a drop in
productivity as soccer-mad fans are distracted by the tournament, according
Grant Thornton.

Extra spending could come in the form of England replica shirts and even
World Cup memorabilia if the national team triumphs in Germany.

Grant Thornton said the ‘general feel good factor could then have positive
knock on effects across the economy, and non-related sectors may also benefit
from any upturn in expenditure.’

But if England wins all its eight matches needed to be crowned world
champions, the economy could end up losing £1.26bn through absent or distracted

Maurice Fitzpatrick, a senior tax manager at Grant Thornton, commented, ‘The
effect on consumers and business of England winning the World Cup are
potentially enormous. The boost of winning will likely see consumers feeling
content and optimistic, a mood which often leads to increase in spending.’

But he said, ‘Many businesses will underestimate the effect on productivity
of the World Cup. The news that matches will be aired live on the internet could
mean that this tournament will see record falls in productivity. Even an early
knockout for England would not prevent such losses, with interest focusing on
the remaining teams.’

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