Usually, we look forward to the World Cup as a boost for retail and hospitality with an increase in sales across our nation’s pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants and in our shops and supermarkets.  However, due to this World Cup being held in the winter, in a period of economic decline and dropping consumer confidence, the usual optimism has been somewhat dampened.  It is unlikely that retailers will come out on top with more people choosing to stay at home to reduce costs.

There are also serious questions for our sector in championing an event which has been shrouded in controversy particularly relating to human rights.  In a time when organisations are looking to champion diversity and inclusion as part of their ESG strategy, supporting this World Cup may attract some heavy criticism from both employees and customers.  “Organisations will need to think this through carefully when considering and managing their brand and reputation” commented Amy Au our IP and reputation specialist.

I’ve also been discussing the World Cup with our employment consumer specialists who have pulled together eight workplace issues HR need to be aware of. For the consumer sector, whilst we will be looking to benefit from the World Cup, it's inevitable that many of our employees will want to watch it. This could cause problems for employers because the group stage matches are expected to kick off at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm UK time, when many people are at work and at a time when scheduling due to staff shortages is already a challenge.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom if England puts in a good performance and momentum builds throughout the competition, people will want to get together and the Nation’s collective bad mood may be lifted leading to more spending and celebrating which could see a welcomed boost to the consumer sector…come on England!