The New York Times reported today that Wal-Mart’s British business, Asda, avoided a work stoppage on what promises to be one of its busiest shopping weekends by bowing to the union. What prompted the world’s biggest retailer to cave to its workers? Anticipation that the England/Portugal World Cup soccer match was going to bring out gaggles of beer drinkers.
According to the article, Asda expects to sell 10 million bottles of beer Friday afternoon. The British Beer and Pub Association (www.beerandpub.com) says beer is Britain’s “most popular drink” with 28 million pints consumed every day. The British Retail Consortium estimates an extra £1.24 million spent (about $2.25 million) in food and drink each week that England plays in the tournament, most of it beer. Those are numbers that Asda (and Wal-Mart) couldn’t ignore.