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.’

Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites Open At Stratford City for 2012 London Games

Two new hotel properties have opened at Stratford, London, in the UK, in time for the 2012 London Olympic games, which are expected to attract an additional 500,000 visitors to the country during the period from July to August.

The Holiday Inn London Stratford City and Staybridge Suites London Stratford City, both of which are hosted by UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), have opened close to one of Europe’s largest shopping centres, Westfield Stratford City.

The two hotels are owned by a joint venture between Cycas Hotel Partners and Patron Capital, and are being operated under a franchise agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group. The hotels are both located in a single building, next to the London 2012 Olympic Park, and are well connected by surface railway stations, including Stratford International, in addition to local underground stations.

Angela Brav, IHG chief executive officer for Europe, said, ‘A big focus for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the regeneration of East London. The hotels will help to create that legacy, with 120 new jobs created. The opening of these two new hotels also sees IHG pass a significant milestone; we now have over 40,000 hotel rooms in the UK.’

The new 188-room Holiday Inn hotel is offering a Twenty Twelve restaurant and The Stadium lounge bar, seven conference rooms, as well as a gym and a business centre. The 162-room Staybridge Suites London Stratford City offers accommodation for extended stays, being equipped with kitchen and workspaces, while hotel amenities include a 24-hour shop and a complimentary breakfast.