London 2012 Olympics victory boosts retail gloom
London's historic surge past Paris to snatch 2012 Olympic gold could give the capital's retailers a massive financial boost.

According to tourist body Visit Britain, the Games could be worth well over£2 billion to Britain's visitor economy and retailers could benefit by as much as£521 million from the surge in tourists, as well as a feelgood factor around the country.

'The Olympics would be a major boost for London's retailers. The 2004 Olympics in Greece produced a total sales increase of 47 per cent,' said Zvonimir Bednarcik, UK country manager at duty free shopping monitor Global Refund. 'Many nationalities saw large sales increases. For example, sales to Americans and Australians almost doubled, while sales to the Japanese nearly quadrupled.'

KPMG head of retail Helen Dickinson said: 'There should be a significant benefit for London retailers, with the capital's fortunes heavily driven by visitor numbers.

'That said, any major live or sporting event - be it Live8, the World Cup or anything that keeps people in front of their televisions - can also keep people out of the shops. However, I think the overall impact would be very positive.'

UK retailers were affected by stay-at-home shoppers this week as major events kept people away from the country's high streets. 'As Londoners tuned in to or attended the Live8 concert, others joined the Gay Pride march or watched Wimbledon and the Lions test match,' said SPSL director of knowledge management Tim Denison.

London retail traffic was down 14.1 per cent week on week and 22.3 per cent year on year compared with falls of 5.5 per cent and 10.7 per cent for the rest of the country.

Less than a week later, Edinburgh retailers faced closure and chaos as riots descended on the city ahead of the G8 summit.

A spokesperson for the BRC concurred: 'Winning the Olympics will undoubtedly create a feelgood factor and that is generally passed on to the retailers. This should be good news for the sector.'