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Retailers set to score thanks to upcoming World Cup

Some retailers in Singapore are expecting to score higher sales this month and the next, all thanks to the upcoming FIFA World Cup that is set to kick off in Brazil next week. Some economists said that retail sales in 2006 and 2010 had kicked up several notches.

SINGAPORE:Football is big business and it does not get any bigger than the World Cup.

Every four years, fans pull out their wallets and pay top dollar for a wide range of products -- be it a S$100 replica jersey or a pair of boots.

Soccer store Weston Corporation said sales could go up by 50 per cent during the World Cup period.

Amandeep Singh, the owner of Weston Corporation, said: "Every World Cup, we see an increase... Compared to the last World Cup, I would say it is a big step up. Some of the retail prices of jerseys have gone up but we don't see any decline in sales."

Sales have also been brisk at adidas, one of the official partners of the 2014 World Cup. This year, it is the outfitter for 9 teams -- including Germany and Spain, whose team kits have sold well. Another hot item is the official FIFA World Cup ball -- Brazuca.

Hermann Seet, senior manager of category merchandising for Southeast Asia at adidas Singapore, said: "Consumers they do not mind plonking S$400-500 for a limited edition pair of boots.

"Consumer buying behaviour in Singapore has evolved -- the Singaporean consumer is well-connected, well-informed and well-versed with what's going on around the world, whatever that launches globally... they would want to get access to it."

For those who cannot watch the finals in Brazil, there is also the option of upsizing their TV set.

Tim Nolan, commercial director of Courts Singapore, said: "Larger screen TVs -- 55 inches and above -- we have seen those significantly pick-up over the last few weeks and months. And actually since 2012, 2013, this year we are seeing double digit growth compared to those years."

Courts said some customers are also buying new smartphones to keep up with World Cup updates and coffee machines to get them through those early morning matches.

As a result of all that spending, some economists said May could see a pickup in retail sales.

Leong Wai Ho, a senior regional economist in Barclays, said: "May usually sees stronger retail sales. Maybe in terms of a month-on-month pickup, we'll see a 5 to 7 per cent pick up, May over April. But for the World Cup year, we noticed the effect is slightly stronger. So maybe 7 to 10 per cent in May over April for 2006 and 2010."

Meanwhile, pubs and supermarkets could do well in June, with higher demand for drinks and snacks. But it could come at the expense of spending at fine dining restaurants and recreational activities.

While retail sales could pick up in May, some economists said things could be a little bit more subdued in June as a result of fewer tourist arrivals from "football-mad" markets like Europe.

With June being a school holiday, many Singaporean families could be travelling, further dampening retail sales. 

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