Many independent retailers' sales of alcohol and World Cup merchandise plummeted once the World Cup began as shoppers fell for supermarket offers.

One retailer in the Newcastle area said: "We were doing well up until the World Cup started, then sales of alcohol and World Cup merchandise fell off a cliff."

Another said: "It went very quiet a few weeks ago. We think this is because customers have been preferring the cut-price deals on offer at the supermarkets."

Some leading wholesalers say they have seen a drop-off in their beer sales from 9 June, the day the tournament started.

But Steve Roper, Booker's director of trading for drinks and tobacco, said that independents could fight back by focusing more on their unique selling points, including their speed of service and their strength in chilled.