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Olympic spending habits

deserted oxford_street_06_08_12Expected profits from the influx of tourists aren’t quite what London had hoped for, as officials put new initiatives in place to entice shoppers back to central retail spots.

Remember the pre-Olympic warnings about the crowds set to bombard London’s transport and public spaces? Though only just over a week ago, it seems that the calm before the Olympic storm was more chaotic than the actual Games traffic. So far we’ve just had a barrage of helpful pink vest wearers prowling round the stations and no more pushing or shoving than normal.

It appears this Olympic calm is taking its toll on London’s retail sales. Telling us to avoid areas like Oxford Circus was wise in theory, however it seems tourists heard the overcrowding warnings on the grapevine too. Though decked out in worldly flags and Olympic bunting Bond Street and Regent Street are a shopping ghost town compared to its Olympic Park competitor Westfield Stratford City.

The wide eyed tourists flooding the Olympic Park are indeed spending their converted currency in the hundreds of shops available in the shopping centre, rather than London’s usual haunts. Not to mention the Olympic merchandise stalls in the Park itself. With Team GB tracksuits setting you back just under £200, it’s no wonder the Olympic ground’s profits are booming in comparison.

But what of the rest of London? Well, it seems the government and transport officials are having a change of heart. Erasing their previously extensive media campaign asking Londoners and commuters not attending events to avoid the Underground and city buses, the big wigs are putting in place new messages urging a post Olympic boom.

The Welcome Back London marketing campaign, which comes into effect this week is costing a ‘six-figure sum’, according to The Guardian. With social-media promotions and free parking to be offered on the weekends following the games’ end, the officials are taking no chances at driving shoppers back into London.

‘We have been working on measures to reverse the significant drop in retail spending and visitors into the West End,’ New West End Company noted. ‘The forecasts for this summer predicted a different trading pattern and the lack of London workers and domestic visitors has been quickly apparent as a result of Transport for London traffic demand management.’

So will the estimated one million Londoners who worked from home last week resurface again this week? Only time will tell.


Picture credit: Bikeworldtravel / Shutterstock

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