Large sales of big-screen televisions have been one of the first signs that UK retailers have scored success as a result of the football World Cup.

John Lewis has announced a 140% increase in sales of TVs with 55in screens or above. This leap was recorded on the first day of the tournament, which featured an opening ceremony performance by British singer Robbie Williams.

Some of the other products that look set to enjoy a sales boost include alcohol and pizza.

However, the problem with major sporting events – especially ones of such magnitude and national interest – is the fine line between cashing in and overstocking.

Uwe Weiss, CEO of retail tech company Blue Yonder, has been quoted in the media this week as saying: “Food and drink sales declined by £55million compared to the previous week after England’s exit at the group stage in 2014, so while it will be tempting for retailers to stock up on booze and burgers to meet high initial demand, they must temper their optimism with a realistic expectation for England’s performance in the tournament to ensure they don’t overstock and end up with wasted product.”

Getting your tactics right

A sales opportunity like this is too good to ignore, so UK shops have cashed in on patriotism not just with flags, clothing and other football merchandise, but with themed packaging and window displays too. This wide range of products includes World Cup references to increase attention and sales.

The hope is that this will reap an even better result than during the last World Cup. For example, in the first week of the 2014 tournament, British consumers paid out an additional £27.7 million on beer and cider.

Data is a game changer

For many retailers, the need to manage this opportunity without over committing appears to have led to an increased reliance on data management techniques within stock control.

That way, they can respond more quickly when the nation’s hopes are dashed by an early exit. Or, avoid finding themselves with empty shelves and disappointed customers, having failed to anticipate the level of continuing demand.

Not “dropping the ball” when it comes to stock control during such precarious situations often involves using historic data and predictive analysis. By factoring in weather and the progress of the nation’s heroes, a set of differentials can be created, backed with a variety of ordering scenarios. In this way, responses are swifter and less likely to score an own goal!

The right skills to see the result

Retail executives responsible for purchasing decisions make a multitude of choices every working day. Something like the World Cup magnifies this juggling act considerably.

Having the technology in place to support this function is imperative. However, it also relies on forward-looking retail recruitment, to find decision-makers with the right level of data management abilities.

To find retail executives who know how to use data to win the stock control game – during glory days or national mourning – contact Anthony Gregg for consultancy and advice.