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No Olympic win for UK retail

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 01:57

July 10 - British retailers got a temporary lift in June from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, but analysts warn the Olympics are unlikely to attract shoppers or help them increase their retail sales. Joanna Partridge reports

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After the rainiest June in a century - a bright spot for British retailers. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee helped retail sales to rise at their fastest pace since December last month. The British Retail Consortium says a "bunting boost" pushed sales at established stores up by almost one and a half percent. But Bryan Roberts from Kantar Retail says it was only temporary. SOUNDBITE: Bryan Roberts, Director of Retail Insights, Kantar Retail, saying (English): "They used that as an excuse for a family get-together or a get-together with friends. So the supermarkets were a clear beneficiary, but what we saw after the Jubilee was actually retail sales returning to a more sluggish trajectory." Even the Jubilee celebrations didn't help British retail bellwether Marks & Spencer. It's posted its worst quarterly sales performance for three and a half years. It blamed poor sales of women's clothing on the wet weather - even though other fashion retailers did well in that period. The retailer has now shaken up its management team to try and turn things around. PTC Several months ago, Marks & Spencer and other large retail chains flagged the Olympics as a major opportunity to boost sales. But many analysts now say ongoing recession and unseasonably poor weather mean any boost is likely to be muted. SOUNDBITE: Bryan Roberts, Director of Retail Insights, Kantar Retail, saying (English): "There will be sales of souvenirs, sporting equipment, there might be some extra socialising around some of the really big events, as the Olympics draw to a close. That said I think the key determinant is there aren't any extra days off which we had in the Jubilee, so any positive uplift, I think, will be fairly limited." In a difficult trading environment - major events are becoming crucial to retailers. But it already looks like the sporting spirit won't be enough to get those coming to watch the Games racing to the shops as well. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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No Olympic win for UK retail

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 01:57