Rugby win will trigger 'feel-good' spree at the shops

As England's Rugby World Cup winners winged their way home to a tumultuous reception at Heathrow early this morning, the nation's economy was forecast to receive a boost of at least £70m from their success.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research think-tank has estimated the economy will benefit from higher spending because of the "feel-good" factor generated by victory over the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday.

The income is likely to be generated in various ways - from higher High Street sales before Christmas to a boom in gate receipts at Zurich Premiership matches. Further benefits for areas such as advertising are likely as the players capitalise on their achievement.

"There is just an obvious 'feel-good' factor which encourages people to spend money," Richard Greenwood, the CEBR economist, said. "It has a positive effect and there were very few negative effects on productivity - most of the games were at weekends."

A survey yesterday suggested shopping levels fell as much as 10 per cent on Saturday. But higher spending in pubs and a boom in sales of rugby shirts and balls may compensate.

Mr Greenwood said: "Since lots of these might be bought as Christmas presents, you have to remember that it's money that would be spent anyway.'' The CEBR said absenteeism might have risen yesterday because of the celebrations.

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