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With football coming home, hospitality and retail receive welcome tonic

Everyone seems to know the score, they’ve heard it all before ... and yet here we are, 55 years after England won the World Cup in 1966 looking forward to an England versus Italy Euro 2020 men's football final this weekend, and win, lose or draw, the events of the last two weeks have helped lift the mood in what has been a challenging year for everyone. 

While I was too young to remember 1966, the last 50 years have seen lots of lows, and not too much in the way of highs when it comes to the England football team, with more nostalgia for heroic failures like Euro 96.

For a UK economy that has been battered by Covid-19 these last 15 months, and a hospitality and retail sector that has suffered more than other parts of the economy, the events of the last two weeks are likely to be a welcome tonic even if they don’t come anywhere near close to reversing the damage of the pandemic.

For pubs especially, even with the social-distancing restrictions the ability to stream live sport and the progress the England team has made to the final, should offer a boost in terms of alcohol and food sales, which will have increased with every single England goal as the entire contents of pint glasses fill the air in celebration.

As a consequence, the lowly share prices of the likes of Marstons and Mitchells & Butlers could get a welcome respite, especially if restrictions then get lifted on 19 July, given the shares are already at five-month lows. Supermarket beer and food sales will also have risen in the last two weeks, as those not wanting to go to the pub host smaller events around the games, which should be good for the likes of Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's, while Heineken, Anheuser Busch, the maker of Stella Artois beer and Constellation Brands who make Corona beer could see increased sales volumes in this quarter.   

Sports clothing brands JD Sports and Frasers Group, aka Sports Direct, will also have seen a big rise in the sale of England kits, although at £80 for an England top, I’m surprised that there aren’t still some left on the shelves, but nonetheless summer sales could well see a lift as a consequence of the events of the last month.

Food delivery companies are also likely to see a pickup, which will be welcome news for Deliveroo whose share price is slowly recovering from its post-IPO collapse and earlier this week revised up its guidance for this year. Just Eat Takeaway is likely to top the charts on this score, though Uber Eats is also likely to do well.

Bookies are also likely to see extra revenue from punters tempted to have a flutter on the games, as they get caught up with all the exuberant flag waving, with Flutter Entertainment, Bet365, Entain and 888 Holdings likely to see a boost.

With tennis and cricket also offering a welcome distraction, it could be a very good summer for UK retail and hospitality as they plot a pathway to recovery. I think that is something we can all drink too, along with an England win on Sunday. 

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