Retailers have vented their frustration at LOCOG’s decision to close Westfield Stratford City to members of the public without a ticket for the Olympic Games on Friday and Saturday between 10.30am to 5pm.

Schuh head of retail Phil Whittle said: “I’m very disappointed and frustrated to find out a day beforehand.”

He said that the move “sent out the wrong message” and was unhelpful for retailers.

The move to restrict Westfield Stratford City access to Olympic ticket holders and accredited workers comes as footfall crashed in London’s West End as shoppers stayed away in fear of congestion in central London.

Retailers only found out about the closure this morning via a memo from the centre’s manager, seen by Retail Week.

Hotel Chocolat head of retail Darren Williams said: “It’s a real surprise and very disappointing. We could not have seen this coming, we’ve been given such late notice.

“The people who are allowed in will not be there to shop. There’s no time to plan for this or reduce our costs, it has supply chain implications. The decision is very frustrating.”

However, The Entertainer managing director Gary Grant said although more notice would have been helpful he understood why the decision had been taken by LOCOG.

He said: “It’s a pain in the neck but I’m supportive of the decision. It would be horrendous in what has been a problem-free Olympics to have someone crushed in the crowds.”

Friday and Saturday are set to be the busiest days of the event with 200,000 spectators expected each day. A TfL spokesman did not rule out further closures. He said none are planned at the moment but it is “closely monitoring the situation”.

LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton said: “As we move into the second week of the Games the Olympic Park will be much busier as the Olympic Stadium hosts its first sporting events. Because of the huge number of people coming to the Park on those days at certain times we have to restrict general public access to Westfield Stratford City and we are encouraging people to avoid travelling to Stratford unless they have a ticket.”

In the memo sent out to retailers this morning, Westfield stated that it has experienced “unprecedented footfall” which is “significantly above” previous records such as its opening and Boxing Day, however Whittle said that Schuh had not experienced a footfall lift.

He said: “On Boxing Day we had 6,700 customers come through our doors, we’ve not had more than 3,700 on any day during the Olympics, and Schuh holds its own in terms of footfall.”

Westfield Stratford City’s shops will be open to all visitors outside the restricted hours until 11pm and restaurants and cinemas will be open until at 12:30am. Extended trading hours will resume on Sunday August 5 with all shops open until 11pm and restaurants and cinemas until 12:30am.

Meanwhile, Olympics minister Hugh Robertson defended accusations the West End has been suprisingly quiet and said retailers had time to be prepared. He told the BBC: “There are parts of the West End that are a little bit quiet. This is entirely traditional in Olympics, people tend to go out of the city early on and then flow back into it as the Games progress.

“This is hardly a surprise. It’s not been a great secret. The London Games were won seven years ago. We’ve all known this was coming. There has been ample time to plan for it, to put in place marketing strategies to make the most of it.”