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Retail industry takes hit as Olympics engrosses UK consumers

05 September 2012 - 10:15 by Simon Crisp

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There was a 0.4 per cent decline in the number of retail sales made during August, with analysts from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), putting this decline down to the fact that people were staying inside to watch the Olympics.

Of course, the expansion of safe shopping online could not be stemmed by the games, as e-commerce sales still grew by 4.8 per cent last month. However, the BRC found that online sales have never grown at such a small rate over the past four years, which indicates that even digital retailers were not immune to the reduction in spending.

BRC spokesperson, Stephen Robertson, said that it was difficult to find any indication that sales had been lifted by the Olympics, with the decline in fact suggesting that the opposite was true.

While the games and the warm weather meant that people purchased more celebratory food and drink, most other areas of retail suffered a minimal decline.

Perhaps most impactful is the news that London's major shopping outlets actually saw a lower number of consumers paying them a visit during the games.

While the Olympics doubtlessly imbued many people across the nation with a sense of community and togetherness that is often absent, it seems that this did not translate into any particular uptick in retail sales, according to BBC News.

Of course, the fact that sites offering safe shopping online were able to weather this storm and still post positive growth figures, tells you something about the UK's retail habits and the resilience of e-commerce.

Now that the autumn is approaching, so too is the busiest period of the year for retailers, since the Christmas rush is just around the corner, so hopefully, both online shops and those on the high street will be able to post positive figures.