Retail sales 'hurt by Olympics' in August


BRC director general Stephen Robertson: "Increases in utility bills have dented the customers' ability to spend"

Retail sales in the UK were lower in August as the popularity of the Olympics hit traffic at stores, a survey has shown.

Retail sales fell 0.4% on a like-for-like basis from the same month last year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Excluding Easter, it was the weakest month since November.

"The feel good factor from the Olympics failed to inspire spending," the BRC said.

In particular, online shopping grew 4.8% in August, the lowest increase since the BRC started collecting the data in October 2008.

"There's no evidence here of any Olympic boost to retail sales overall," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.

"Hot weather and the Olympics did help sales of party food and drink but that was more than offset by a really weak performance for non-food goods."

Shops in central London saw a sharp drop in visitors during the Olympic Games.

'More empty shops'

The BRC acknowledged this, but said that the net effect of the Games was minimal as "lower footfall in London was offset by a better performance in the rest of the country".

In terms of fashion, the autumn-winter ranges in womenswear did not attract many shoppers, the BRC said.

But women's footwear attracted more buyers than men's shoes.

Separate figures, compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC), suggested the proportion of shops lying empty increased in every region in Britain bar London between January and June.

An average of 14.6% of shops now remain empty across Britain, according to the LDC.

It said a dramatic drop in consumer spending, higher online sales and retail space expansion were to blame for the high vacancy rate.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    Funny because back in January & May of this year the BoE, Gov & a plethora or surveys all reported that London will see an econmic boost over the Olympics & even stated that this boost could bring us out of recession. Well I'm glad that plan worked then! I personally didn't think this was going to happen & lo & behold it hasn't. Who thought that the tourists who came for the games would spend?

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    Sales dropped 0.4%. That is hardly a dramatic effect overall. London undoubtedly suffered the most. I know many retailers who have been talking 30 and 40% down on same period.
    Personally I am about 30% down in my takings for the same period.
    The plus side is the games have put a spring into a lot of peoples steps and a more positive outlook on things.
    Anything positive will help the economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    No surprises there then. Most people avoiding Olympic London like the plague, unless they were attending an event.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    The weak performance of non-food goods has probably nothing to do with the Olympics. I work in local government and have not had a pay rise for three years. I spend less on non-food goods because I have less disposable income to spend - nothing to do with the Olympics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    Why they are blaming the Olympics for poor sales? Because they were promised more sales during the Olympics by the government, remember those people that spent millions of pounds which were ear marked for much worthier projects but justified it by telling us all how we'd ALL profit from the Olympics, not just major corporations.


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