With England’s next World Cup match only a matter of hours away, plenty of fans have already bought their inflatable hands, red-and-white bunting and supplies of beer.
In the run-up to a World Cup retailers take a gamble, ordering in supplies of everything from face paints to party food, hoping England stay in the tournament long enough to shift the stock. This time the more optimistic are reaping rewards.
The British Retail Consortium says June sales were up 2.3% compared to the previous year and Barclaycard has released figures suggesting leisure spending – including the stampede to the pubs to watch the game – has boosted consumer spending by more than 5%.
But there are a few things we’re splashing out on that may come as a bit of a surprise.
1. A winning tattoo
Already Twitter is awash with pledges from those who will go under the needle if Harry Kane lifts the cup next Sunday.
Cassie Bird, manager at Manchester Ink reckons an England win would mean a “massive boom” in business. She predicts demand for three lions across the chest to replicate the shirt if England go all the way.
But the rush would come on Monday, the day after the final, she reckons.
“In the UK you do have to be sober to get a tattoo, so I can’t imagine there’ll be many coming in Sunday afternoon,” she says.
Carpet fitter, Jamie Richardson couldn’t wait. He is so confident, he got in ahead of the crowds with a picture of the cup and the slogan “England 2018 World Cup Winners”.
And Dan Welch a darts player from Luton has the full squad’s names down his leg.
2. Dressing up
Amazon’s website says its number one best seller in the fancy dress segment is a full Gareth Southgate face mask.
Then there’s the the coach’s trend-setting touchline turn-out.
While there will always be those who are happier to sweat it out in polyester replica England strip, the real fashionistas this World Cup are a bit more buttoned up in full waistcoat and tie.
Marks & Spencer says it’s seen a 35% surge in sales of waistcoats, after it supplied the team’s suits.
EBay says it has seen a big increase in searches for the unlikely summer fashion item, and men’s tailoring firm TM Lewin tweeted sales were “through the roof” for them too.
If that strikes you as a bit much for the current heat-wave, there are also t-shirts available online printed with a picture of a waistcoat.
3. Giant screens
How big is big enough? Currys PC World says they’ve seen “fantastic growth” in sales of 75 inch screens. That’s a screen large enough that a close-up of Harry Kane lying down, would be almost exactly life-size in your living room.
And they are happy to mount that on your wall for you.
Sales of TVs in general have been “brilliant” according to Currys PC World with year-on-year sales up 40%.
Sales of large screen TVs – that’s those over 55 inches – are up by 33% compared to two years ago, when the Euros provided the last excuse to get a bigger telly.
More than half of us buying a new TV, are now choosing a 55 inch or bigger, the store chain says.
4. It’s coming home
The Baddiel and Skinner-penned ballad first issued in 1996 sees a reboot to its popularity every time England raises fans’ hopes in an international tournament. But this time it’s really become the ear-worm of the nation.
Fans who weren’t even born in 1996 are chanting along.
Three Lions jumped to number 24 in the official record charts after World Cup victory over Colombia.
Spotify says the track was played over a million times on Saturday, the day England beat Sweden, more than twice the plays it had following the Colombia game.
“We can only speculate as to what will happen if England manage to crush Croatia on Wednesday…” said Spotify’s spokesperson.
5. Home turf
EBay says it is seeing 18 purchases every hour of artificial turf – a 16% increase on last year.
For some it could just be despair at the yellowing of their parched lawns after weeks of scorching sun. But it’s presumably particularly necessary now for those planning post-match re-enactments in the garden.
The online marketplace says it’s also seen mini-fridges selling well, as well as the predictable flags and trophies.
But given that England don’t always make it quite this far, it’s likely that most retailers will have sold out of their stock of novelty products – such as wheelie bin stickers and flags.
Retail commentator Steve Dresser says now the question for retailers will be how best to take advantage of the on-going opportunity, given that it’s too late to re-order from Far East suppliers before the end of the tournament. Morrisons, for example, have put champagne on at an offer price.
But if England’s unaccustomed success does continue, what Mr Dresser would most like to see is a supermarket deal on melons and custard, so fans can recreate the scene from the 1998 Three Lions video where Frank Skinner holds aloft his very own DIY edible World Cup trophy.
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