15:44 04 September 2012
It was speculated that the Olympics would boost retails sales, but figures have been released showing that for the month of August retail sales were down by 0.4% compared with the preceding year.
However, on a total basis, sales were actually up 1.6%, against a 1.5% rise in August 2011.
The statistics which show that Store chains and retailers were hit by a poor performance during the 2012 London Games were released this week by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.
Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "Hot weather and the Olympics did help sales of party food and drink but that was more than offset by a really weak performance for non-food goods.
"As summer gives way to the all-important Christmas run-up, retailers will be hoping sales that didn't happen in August have been postponed and not lost entirely."
And online retailing was also displaying a slump. "Usually reliable online sales suffered, putting in the worst sales growth since we started the measure four years ago," said Robertson.
"Some retailers told us online activity was particularly thin in the evenings. If people weren’t watching television they were more likely to be following the sport on their computers and mobile devices than shopping."
Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail at KPMG, added further analysis into the figures, stating that: "While, without doubt, the Olympics brought a much needed boost to consumer confidence, the country was 'otherwise engaged' in August and the sales figures show a mixed picture. Those areas of spending which are most discretionary suffered, with women's clothing, furniture, flooring and home related items hit the hardest.
"However, it could have been much worse. August is traditionally a weak month for sales and it's really the next three months that will have a critical impact on retailers' profitability. The challenge remains to accurately forecast outcomes in such a volatile trading environment."
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