Sainsbury’s, Next and John Lewis are among the high street giants set to benefit from the forthcoming Olympics, but how will others fare?
If you want to get a sense of the forthcoming Olympic Games as retail opportunity, there’s no better place to do it than on the 3rd floor of John Lewis at Stratford. Here, in the 2012 Shop, as well as working out whether you want a Games-branded piece of memorabilia, you can wander into the adjacent room and marvel at the view of the Olympic site with its many starchitect structures. And then, when you’ve decided that you’ll just go for that lapel button, as everything else looks a bit on the pricey side, there’s the matter of paying.
Fair play to John Lewis for stating that all of the profits from the 2012 Shop will go towards providing a better Games. The trouble is you’ve left your Visa card at home. No problem, you’ll use the Mastercard instead. And then you read the notice informing you that the 2012 Shop is “proud” to accept Visa and cash only. Why limiting the shopper to just two forms of payment should be a matter of pride is a moot point.
And then you remember. Visa is a major sponsor of the Games, although the only people likely to be proud about this state of affairs are LOCOG and Visa. For the rest of us, it’s a potential inconvenience. No matter. You wander off into the mall to enjoy what will doubtless be a Games and Jubilee-inspired fest.
There is in fact a fair amount of stuff relating to the Jubilee, ranging from River Island’s inspired Union Jack as map window backdrop, to the piles of patriotic merchandise in Marks & Spencer. And of course, there will be hordes who visit Westfield Stratford as part of attending the Olympic Games, so all look likely to benefit.
The only real question is how will those who have not signed up as Olympic sponsors mark the event? There are many ways to skin a cat and the chances seem good that while “Olympics”, “Games” and perhaps even, in certain contexts, “2012”, will be looked at pretty unfavourably by the powers that be at LOCOG, we are in for a ‘Super Soaraway Summer of Sport’ (insert variations as appropriate).
The best visual merchandisers will create the impression of compeitition and finely-honed bodies without reference to any of the forbidden words or phrases. It’ll be interesting to see how this is done as the Games draw ever closer.