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BRC predicts post-Olympic sales push

Retailers are set to launch new sales later this month in a desperate bid to salvage summer trading hit by wet weather and poor footfall for many during the Olympic Games.

The sales push comes ahead of the next rent day, often a trigger for retail failures, which is in September.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) sales monitor out early this week is expected to show muted retail sales in July due to poor weather depressing demand for summer clothing and outdoor goods.

Richard Dodd of the BRC said: “Retailers haven’t been shy about discounting all year and it will be even more severe after the Olympics.

“The retail sales figures for July will confirm that these are tough times.”

The retail industry, which has been hit by a string of failures and blighted by boarded-up shops, had been hoping that the Olympics would provide a significant sales lift.

However the West End, traditionally a mecca for shoppers, has seen a drop in trade as people head east for the Games.

Over-zealous warnings of travel chaos from Transport for London has also hit footfall.

The turnout has been so disappointing that GDP in the third quarter may contract rather than grow as hoped.

Shops in the West End are banking on heavy discounting and an influx of Middle Eastern shoppers at the end of Ramadan to reverse their flagging fortunes.

Richard Dickinson, chief executive of New West End Company, said: “Trading was difficult last weekend. But to a certain extent this is what we expected. There are a lot of tourists in town but they’re not here to shop.

“A lot of people have also gone on holiday and there are also those working from home.

“After the Games we are expecting a huge contingent of Middle Eastern tourists to come to London following Ramadan [which ends on August 18] and that’s extremely important for our trade.

“We are also planning to bring Londoners back through marketing, so people can expect to see discounts and promotions from the middle of the month.”

East London’s Stratford area, with its influx of visitors this summer, has been a big winner of the Games. Sales spiked 1,000 per cent in July according to Barclays.

The Olympic shopping spree is set to reach new highs in Stratford in coming days as track and field events take centre stage.

Source : Tracey Boles & Ravender Sembhy –

05 August 2012
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