Garden centres advised to become football-free zones during World Cup games

Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association director Neil Gow has recommended that garden centres become World Cup-free zones when England play in South Africa this summer.

Gow, who also owns Fresh@Burcot Garden Centre in Worcestershire, said: "We're running a football-free zone for football widows so they don't have to talk about it when England are playing.

"We're publishing all the dates and encouraging football widows to enjoy our cafe, outdoor seating and lovely plants. Men can stay at home and get the barbecue ready and shout at the TV."

Gow said the majority of garden centre customers are women, as are the majority of garden centre staff. "While some women enjoy football, a larger proportion will have had enough," he added.

"Any major sporting event that overlaps with trading hours is detrimental to sales. But the World Cup is one where as a retailer you can build promotions around it."

England play their group matches on 12 (7.30pm), 18 (7.30pm) and 23 June (3.30pm). The tournament culminates with the final on 11 July.

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