A BOURNEMOUTH sports bar recorded two consecutive record-breaking weeks of trade during the final two weeks of Euro 2020.

The manager of Sharkey's Sports Bar on Old Christchurch Road has described the final two weeks of the European Championships as a “lifeline” for his business, whilst praising fans for creating an “unbelievable atmosphere” as England reached the final.

Rod Cake told the Daily Echo: “It was just incredible, we really needed this after more than a year of uncertainty. Hospitality businesses like mine desperately needed to get back on track after lockdown and the Euros certainly helped with that.

“The atmosphere at Sharkey's was incredible, everyone was singing and it felt like the country was together. I think lockdown changed our collective behaviour. After being locked in for so many months, I think we all just wanted a bit of togetherness.

Bournemouth Echo: Sharkey's manager, Rod CakeSharkey's manager, Rod Cake

“We did face some operational difficulties to deal with the demand, but we handled it very well. It’s been a lifeline for us and now it’s a case of keeping the ball rolling. There are still lots of losses to be recouped but we’re in a positive place going forward.”

This comes after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that retail sales in the UK rose between May and June.

June retail sales were 9.5 per cent higher than before the pandemic in February 2020, official figures showed.

An ONS spokesperson said that growth came from "food and drink sales, boosted by football fans across Britain enjoying the Euros.”

The Euros also proved fruitful for other pubs in the South West. The Elm Tree in Ringwood told the Daily Echo that they were fully booked for each England game.

A spokesperson said: “We booked out our barn, which has a maximum capacity of 78, with Covid restrictions in place. We kept it well ventilated with full table service.

“It was a fantastic atmosphere and was great to get everyone back supporting our local pub. We probably did not generate as much as we potentially could have if we were allowed bar service. But nonetheless, our guests were very happy and followed Covid guidelines.”