Retailers have praised the “feel good factor” created by the Olympics and said it has had a positive impact on shopper numbers.
Footfall in London has been volatile with shoppers staying away from central London at first before returning in the second week of the Games.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said the retailer had “enjoyed some great trading” at locations that had been opened longer on Sundays due to relaxed trading laws during the Games.
Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green told Retail Week that in the first week of the Games London stores were quiet, but added that the second week “got a bit better”.
He added: “But you just get on with life. You don’t want to spend your time sulking about it. We won a lot of medals. Let’s not sulk.”
99p Stores buying director Faisal Lalani said the discount retailer’s London stores did not trade as well as expected. He said the retailer was “lucky” to have a “good spread” of stores across the country as customers were “frightened off” from travelling to central London.
“The stores closest to central London were most affected while those in the suburbs enjoyed a lift,” he said. “Other factors also helped though as the weather was hot and children are on summer holidays.
“Overall the Olympics has been a good thing. There is a great feel good factor which I think will stretch to Christmas because you have the Paralympics at the end of the month and the September is normally the start of the Christmas season.”
Original Factory Shop chief executive Angela Spindler said: “It’s difficult to specifically correlate [a good performance] with the Olympics but I think there is a real feel-good factor.
“People started shopping locally instead of travelling and once the torch started running through the UK it spread a real sense of pride and community which really benefits local retailers.
“We have been very pleasantly surprised by how trading has been this month. The Paralympics will definitely keep the positive feel going.”
Fat Face chief executive Anthony Thompson said: “We’ve had a good Olympics. The second week was better than the first. We did very well in Stratford and our transport locations in London. Everyone will have benefitted from the softer like-for-likes against the riots last year and the better weather has helped too. I think there’s a general lift from the feel good factor.
“Based on our forecasts, Stratford exceeded expectations and London as a whole dramatically exceeded expectations.”
A Tesco spokewoman said: “Like the rest of the nation, our customers have been captivated by the events of the past two weeks, really getting behind Team GB. In the last fortnight, we’ve sold 40% more party goods than this time last year, with Olympics fans buying over 1 million packs of flags, bunting, medals and inflatable torches.
“Customers have enjoyed the added convenience of longer opening hours on Sunday, and now we’re gearing up for Paralympic fever in the weeks ahead.”
Schuh head of retail Phil Whittle said footfall at Stratford “was very static” over the period.
“It was about half of what we saw at the peak over of Christmas but business did improve in the second week.
“We’ve probably had 10 to 12 better weeks since we opened the store than during the key Olympics weeks. We’ve not broken any records and we were expecting to but it was a good performance. Luckily, the centre of London which was really impacted in the first week recovered. They were a very difficult first few days but it is back to normal. “
“There’s good weather and a bit of a feel good factor which should be good for trading.”
Hallmark chief executive Steve Wright said its stores had seen an uplift across its Best of British range and there has been a “healthy participation” in greetings cards sales.
The Entertainer’s managing director Gary Grant said that sales of Olympic soft toys at its Westfield Stratford store were “completely off the clock” and without it trading would have been “tough”.
Grant said: “Other stores are having a tough time and we haven’t seen the tourists we thought we would. People came to the UK to come to the Olympics. It depends on what they do this week now they have ended.”
A spokeswoman for Lidl, which also extended its opening hours, said: “There has definitely been an increase in shoppers during the Olympics, most likely because so many people have been stocking up with refreshments to watch the Games at home with friends and family.”
Experian regional director Steve Richardson said: “The unparalleled sporting event for a generation brought huge numbers of visitors into London, although their impact in terms of expenditure in the shops remains to be seen.
“Looking at shop visits alone, outside of the Olympic Park footfall in East London was down by 9% year on year during the first week of the games and down 9.6% in week two. West London faired comparatively better achieving an average year on year performance of -2.9% in week one and +0.94% in week 2.
“In particular, West London’s Index saw uplifts of 3.9% and 5% coinciding with last Wednesday’s women’s beach volleyball final and Sunday’s men’s marathon respectively.”