World Cup boosts area’s economy

THE first week of the World Cup has already helped to deliver a major boost to the region’s economy, business leaders say.

Since the competition started many sports stores, supermarkets and pubs have seen an upturn in takings as football fever sweeps the region.

Sales of replica England shirts soared in the build up to the country’s opening game against the USA, leaving several sports stores frantically having to re-order new stock.

Emma Legge, a store assistant at JD Sports in Bury St Edmunds, said: “It’s been absolutely crazy over the last few days.

“We sold so many England shirts in the build-up to the USA game that we actually ran-out at one point and had to re-order another load.

“People have also bought a lot of footballs and flags as well as replicas of the 1966 England kit.

“We’re fully re-stocked now and bracing ourselves for another surge before the next England game.”

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Angela Smith, a store assistant at Starmark Sports in Stowmarket, added: “We have definitely seen a surge in sales of England shirts, hats, banners, flags and footballs.

“We expected this would be the case and made sure that we stocked up before the tournament started.

“Everyone goes football crazy at this time of the year and 2010 has certainly been no different from previous World Cup years.”

Pubs and bars across the region experienced an upturn in business especially during England’s opening match against the USA on Saturday – and they’ll be expecting a similar impact again when England take on Algeria this evening.

David Gwillim, landlord of the Spread Eagle in Bury St Edmunds, said: “We were heaving on Saturday night. It’s hard to say how many people packed in but I’d guess we were 200% busier than a normal Saturday.”

Tom Kelly, assistant manager of the Oak pub in Stowmarket, added: “For a normal Saturday we would take �3,500 but last Saturday we took over �6,000.”

Supermarkets also benefited, with Tesco revealing that sales of barbecue products including sausages, burgers and cans of beer had been very high. Dr Peter Funnell, vice-president of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Major global events like the current World Cup and the 2012 Olympics provide a direct boost to parts of the Suffolk economy and encourage a sense of common purpose for us all.

“Football, like business, is a team game and success can only be achieved through hard work and collective effort.As the Suffolk economy comes out of recession we need work together to create business success and build on the momentum of the World Cup by visibly supporting the efforts and contribution of Team Suffolk.”