No gold for High Street

Andy Murray with his Olympic gold.
Andy Murray with his Olympic gold.

THE summer Olympics were a triumphant success for the UK, with people celebrating up and down the country as our medal count grew and grew throughout the sporting fortnight.

However, there was one sector that wasn’t cheering quite so loudly when it came to Team GB’s athletes – the High Street.

Retail businesses, particularly those in Scotland, are currently feeling the after effects of the games, as like-for-like sales are down 2.7% on last August.

Scotland’s retail sales growth is also doing poorly, at the moment sitting 2.5% behind the UK average and industry experts are now concerned as to how the sector can recover.

Scottish Retail Consortium Economist, Richard Lim, said: “The Olympics were spectacular but didn’t produce the much-needed boost to Scottish retail sales”.

He then went on to state that certain business areas suffered more than others, adding, “any gains were more than cancelled out by a big year-on-year drop in sales of non-food goods”.

These sentiments were echoed by David McCorquodale, Head of Retail in Scotland, who said: “With a fantastic Olympics set to inspire a generation in sports, it sadly did not inspire a pick-up in High Street spending”.

However, there were some retailers who came out smiling at the end of it all, particularly those involved in the food and health sectors.

Food sales were up on the same time last year by 2.4%, with this thought to be the result of people enjoying large amounts of party foods during the games, whilst the health industry has also seen its sales grow substantially in recent weeks.

The General Manager for Nuffield Fitness & Well-being Centre Giffnock, Brian McCall, claimed to have received a huge surge in memberships following the great summer of sport.

He said: “We received 10-15% more memberships than this time in 2011, and you could argue that the Olympics had an effect”.

He also said that the “feel-good factor” has seen new membership numbers remain high well into September, and it was his opinion that there will not be much of a downturn for the company until the Christmas period.