UK retail sales marred by Olympics in August

Written on:September 4, 2012
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Women with shopping bags

Olympics kept Brits away from shops…retailers in doldrums

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the London 2012 Olympics went against expectations and failed to help British retail sales as most people stayed indoors to watch the Games rather than go shopping, resulting in a disastrous month for retailers.

The BRC’s figures show August to be one of the worst months for retailers in 2012 as like-for-like retail sales dropped by 0.4% in value terms compared with August 2011, after a 0.1% increase in July. The total retail sales were found to be 1.6% up on the year, indicating a slowdown after a 2% rise in July.

Non-food groups performed rather badly which couldn’t offset the sales of party food and drink during the Games, the BRC said. Some retailers said that online activity was particularly low in the evenings, as people preferred catching the major Olympic events on television to online shopping.

The weak retail sales dash all hopes of rebound of growth to recur over the summer, finally lifting the country out of recession. Consumers’ reluctance to spend occurred due to rising prices, tax hikes and high levels of unemployment.

The government has designed certain austerity measures to drive the economy out of recession, which have become increasingly unpopular, which has led the Bank of England to depend on consumer spending to support growth.

London 2012 Olympics did little to cheer up the Britons as mounting worries of the economy continued to haunt the UK consumers, as a report from Local Data Company(LDC) stated almost one in seven British shops remained empty at the end of June, leaving retailers baffled.

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