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Monday, 6 August 2012

Retailers and the Olympics...Story So Far

What a fantastic start to the Olympics Team GB have had! Number 3 in the world for medals received so far and given the populations of America and China, ahead of us in the medal stakes, it makes the amount of excellent athletes our little Island is producing even more impressive. There's no doubt the whole country is proud to be British right now and proud of the Olympics but what has it done for British retailers? Is it what retailers had expected so far?

With complaints from London retailers and tourist attractions that visitor numbers are down and the city was quieter than usual during the week, the expected surge in retail sales has been a bit of a let down. However the West End retailers and Westfields reported an increase in sales over the weekend.

There's no doubt we are all glued to the TV - much of it has been blamed on non Olympic tourists avoiding visiting whilst the Olympics is on and locals staying clear of the city expecting congestion, but as we've seen last week it seems to have been quite the opposite with London roads clearer than they've been for a long time.

It's not just London, the Guardian reported this weekend that retail footfall outside of London is also slow on the High Streets, falling by 9%. However where shopping centres have installed large screens to attract shoppers, they are seeing an increase of visitors, up by 6% -11%, helped in turn by the extended Sunday shopping hours.

Lets see what happens this week - as we go for more medals the more people are engrossed in watching the Olympics, so perhaps it will be a another quiet week of trading and things will pick up again at the weekend. West End retailers have asked London Transport to tone down the advice on avoiding London so foot fall is expected to increase this week as people who'd previously avoided London for fears of being caught up in the predicted chaos return.

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