£140m: pubs count cost of England's loss

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The Independent Online

As England dragged itself back onto its feet yesterday after its tortuous defeat, the nation's sporting credentials were not the only subject of commiseration.

As England dragged itself back onto its feet yesterday after its tortuous defeat, the nation's sporting credentials were not the only subject of commiseration.

Businesses were also counting the cost as the multi-million pound boost provided by England's role in the Euro 2004 championships came to an end.

Companies had missed out on a golden opportunity as a result of England's demise, according to a spokesman for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

"England matches generate a huge amount of business," he said. "It would have been the equivalent of hitting the jackpot if England had gone through."

Publicans were among those hit hardest in financial terms as a result of the nation's ousting from the tournament.

An estimated six million revellers consumed an extra 10 million pints at the nation's 60,000 public houses during the clash against Portugal, generating an additional turnover of £40m, according to Britain's Beer and Pub's Association.

A total of £80m was also raised as a result of the additional 20 million pints downed during matches against France, Switzerland and Croatia.

As many as 15 million were expected to watch England had it made the semi-finals, with a further 20 million viewing the finals. But Britain's pubs have lost out on generating an additional £140m in sales of pints, according to the association.

Numerous manufacturers of Euro 2004 merchandise were also counting the cost of the football results. Umbro, which sponsored the England team and unveiled a women's lifestyle range to coincide with this year's championship, was one of many companies missing out on a further boost to business.

But there was one industry yesterday that quietly breathed a sigh of relief at England's demise - the travel industry.

While Portugal benefited from around 50,000 UK visitors out of an additional 400,000 during the tournament, other destinations were patiently waiting for a belated influx of tourists.

"People do tend to hang back from booking their summer holidays until England wins or until they get knocked out," said a spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents.

And other businesses may well benefit now as staff will not be taking time off work to watch England matches, according to the LCCI spokesman.

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