Supermarkets stocking up for sales bonanza of beer and barbecue food
Supermarkets are stocking their shelves for a bonanza weekend as peak summer barbecue weather combined with football fever look set to send tills ringing.
Tesco said this was already the best summer for barbecue meat sales for several years, while demand for beer last week was the strongest of the year so far but less than the predicted 50 million bottles and cans it expects to sell this week.
The UK's largest retailer predicts it will sell almost 3.5 million sausages this week, four million burgers and three million punnets of strawberries.
Tesco barbecue foods buyer Natalie Bastow said: "Fantastic weather and the world's biggest sporting event are creating a real carnival atmosphere across Britain this week.
"The mere mention of a heatwave from weather forecasters is enough to change shopping plans and judging by present sales many people are enjoying al fresco dining right now."
Asda said it was expecting a 1,966% increase in sales of sausages, meatballs and barbecues on last week and is preparing to sell one million kilograms of charcoal.
The supermarket also announced any staff needing time off to watch England's clash with Sweden on Saturday were free to request shift swaps and those left working could wear football shirts.
On Saturday alone, Asda expects to sell more than 750,000 packs of beer and cider and 4.6 million cans and bottles of beer.
Co-op trading manager Adrian Prior said: "Co-op sales soar when the sun comes out, but with the England game also taking place on Saturday we're gearing up for our busiest barbecue weekend of the year so far.
"As a business, we have dramatically increased stock to keep those barbecues hot and the drinks cold."
Sainsbury's Group said it was preparing for a 50% increase in beer sales and a 40% increase in sales of pizza, crisps and dips, party food and snacks, as well as an 80% surge in sales of barbecues at Argos.
Marks & Spencer said sales of burgers and sausages were up 100% on last year, and it was expecting to sell more than 3.34 million individual burgers and hotdogs on Saturday.
Despite the weather, M&S, which has been the official suit supplier to the England team since 2007, said demand for waistcoats had risen 35%, adding: "It's been great seeing Gareth look so smart on the side-lines."
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: "As with other sporting events - and indeed with the British weather being at its best - grocers are poised and ready to refuel excited fans, whilst electrical retailers will be working hard to offer the best new screen to watch the remaining matches on.
"The prospect of football finally coming home presents a real opportunity to relieve some of the pressure that's been brewing in the embattled industry lately, at least for some categories of retail.
"For fashionistas, waistcoats can be found around every corner, thanks to the 'Gareth Southgate effect'.
"Likewise, with England's World Cup performance looking more promising by the minute, sales of football strips and football gear are only likely to be on the up."