Blog: Did the Olympics boost London retail sales?

Petah Marian | 13 August 2012

The curtain has come down on the London 2012 Olympics, and it seems concerns that consumers were avoiding the capital may have been overblown, with more than half of retailers there reporting an increase in demand, according to research released by Deloitte.

The study found that 59% of retailers surveyed reported a rise in demand, and 32% recorded a decline.

"As the heart of London moved east, location has clearly been important, especially for smaller businesses with fewer locations," said Deloitte partner Heather Hancock.

"But for large chains with stores, hotels and restaurants across the capital, opportunities have been there to exploit and it appears sharp, nimble businesses have responded by changing trading hours and moving staff to service their busiest locations."

Indeed, John Lewis experienced a boost, reporting a 22.4% jump in sales over the week ended 4 August. Clothing sales jumped 25.5% over the week, with men's wear and sportswear recording the greatest gains. Meanwhile, sales of London 2012 merchandise soared 51% on the prior week.

"Undoubtedly, the feel-good factor of Team GB's medal success has had a direct impact in uplifting sales, not only in our London shops but also in our branches throughout the country - certainly a great way to start the new half year," the retailer said.

However, Experian Footfall's numbers told a different story. It found retail footfall declined by 9.6% in the first week, and 8.6% in the second week in London against the same period of last year. West London fared better, with a 2.9% decline in the first week, and a 0.94% rise in the second.

"The unparalleled sporting event for a generation brought huge numbers of visitors into London, although their impact in terms of expenditure in the shops remains to be seen," said Experian UK regional director Steve Richardson.


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