2012 Olympic Games Has No Effect on UK Retail Sales

Retail sales in the UK have registered slow growth in spite of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), a trade association in the UK, has reported that the retail scene in UK has not been much affected by the influx of tourists that are visiting the country for the games. UK retail sales values were up by 0.1 percent on a like-for-like basis in July 2012, compared to July 2011, against a 0.6 percent hike a year ago. On a total basis, sales were up by 2.0 percent in July 2012, compared to a 2.5 percent increase in July 2011.

Stephen Robertson, the director general, British Retail Consortium, said, ‘July was clearly not a golden month for retail. Like-for-like sales were virtually flat compared with a year ago and total growth of two per cent was still behind inflation as consumers, dealing with squeezed budgets, prioritised their spending on essentials.

After the June washout, more wet weather in July continued to stifle demand for outdoor gear. There was a boost for food retailers towards the end of the month as the sunshine came out and shoppers started getting in party food and drink ahead of the Olympics but it wasn’t a significant help.

The brightest spot was clothing and footwear thanks to cooler weather coinciding with autumn ranges reaching the shops. Consumers responded enthusiastically to the chance to refresh their wardrobes with items they could make use of straightaway. Some retailers also benefited from the longer Sunday opening hours brought in for the Olympic period.

With only the opening couple of days of the Olympic Games covered by these statistics we’ll have to wait a while to assess the overall impact on retail sales. Let’s hope Team GB keeps on increasing its medal tally, bringing a feel good factor that helps consumer confidence.’