The Olympics: not so bad after all then
12 August, 2012
by Peter Martin
There has been no shortage of speculation about the impact of the London Olympics on the pub and restaurant market – and particularly in the capital. So far though, the big chains at least look to be overall beneficiaries, or at least haven’t seen an adverse reaction, writes Peter Martin.
Provisional figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which is the biggest and most comprehensive barometer for the market, monitoring sales from 26 operating groups representing combined annual turnover of over £6 billion, show that for the first full week of the Games combined like-for-like sales across the country were marginally up on the same week last year.
In contrast, the week running up to and including the opening ceremony and first weekend was not good and down on last year. The full July trading figures will be published this Wednesday – and by the end of this week our Tracker participants will also know the results of week two.
What we do know is that companies such as TGI Fridays have seen bumper sales in their sites around the Olympic venues, in particular in Westfield Stratford. We also know that London’s West End was pretty much deserted, or at least full of the wrong sort of tourists, during week one – a fact reflected in the many small-sample straw polls already put out. Although latest retail data from Experian suggests that week two saw shoppers start to return to the West End with footfall up.
Of course, it is also all about context. Overall, restaurants look to have done better than pubs in Olympic week one, but the corresponding week last year was hot and pubs had a boom time while restaurants suffered. Figures for week two will also have to take into account the fact that the riots hit during the same week last year.
We will have a fuller picture of the Olympics effect soon and companies participating in the Tracker survey will be the ones to receive the hard weekly numbers. Business Tracker is a free service for the market, and open to any restaurant, pub or bar group with over £10m in annual sales. Any group wanting to join up should email email@example.com.
The important thing will not be so much what happened during the fortnight of the Games, but what happens next, and whether this phenonemal showcase will drive more business, particularly from tourists, to London and the UK as a whole.