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Olympics & sunshine boost demand for sportswear in UK
Sep '12
Official retail figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), paint a surprisingly rosy picture of retail sales in August, said the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The ONS numbers show the total value of sales (not seasonally adjusted) was up 3.4 per cent on August 2011, an improvement on July. The BRC's own Retail Sales Monitor, published two weeks ago, showed total sales growth of 1.6 per cent - which was down on July and, barring distortions from Easter timings, made August the worst month this year. 
The official figures suggest sales growth was driven by food and clothing and footwear – partly as a result of the Olympics and sunshine boosting demand for party food and drink and sportswear. They also confirm that online sales slowed as people found themselves otherwise engaged.
British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: "The strength of these figures and the improving trend is a surprise. Results reported to us by retailers show that, while the Olympics were spectacular, they didn't inspire the hoped-for retail rush leaving August's overall sales growth much weaker and down on July. 
"The Games certainly produced a feelgood effect but generally that didn't translate into many extra sales as people found sport more enticing than shopping. The ONS' own evidence on the knock to online retail growth confirms our own findings that the Olympics were a big distraction from buying for many. 
"Disposable incomes are still under immense pressure and conditions remain a huge challenge for customers and retailers with few reasons for immediate optimism.
"As the vital run-up to Christmas begins, retailers are still looking for a convincing revival in consumers' confidence and willingness to spend."   

British Retail Consortium

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