BRITAIN’S retailers failed to cash in on the Olympics, leading to the weakest sales figures this year and damping hopes of a high street revival.
The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) latest sales monitor, published today, shows a “mild boost” to food sales as hungry sports watchers snapped up party food and drink.
However, the net effect of the Games was described as “minimal” as lower footfall in London offset a better performance in the rest of the UK.
Overall, retail sales values were 0.4 per cent lower on a like-for-like basis last month, while total sales, which include store openings and expansions, were up by just 1.6 per cent, year-on-year.
Excluding anomalies surrounding the timing of Easter, both measures were the lowest since November 2011. Meanwhile, online sales grew by 4.8 per cent in August – the slowest pace since the report started collecting such data in October 2008.
Yesterday, a similar monthly monitor by accountancy firm BDO also suggested that retailers had failed to enjoy an Olympics boost.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: “It’s clear people were absorbed by the magnificent Olympics and had little interest in shopping, especially for major items.”
Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, which helps compile the data, said: “It’s really the next three months that will have a critical impact on retailers’ profitability.”
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