Latest News from Everett Masson & Furby

The Olympics are coming!

The summer of 2012 has the potential of being a key turning point especially for businesses in London and the South East says Edward Harrison of Everett Masson & Furby (London  & Surrey) with many opportunities resulting from the forthcoming Olympics with expected higher footfalls generated from the estimated 11 million visitors to the capital together with the feel good factor generated by the Queens Diamond Jubilee and major transport innovations such as Crossrail and the upgrade to the Tube system.

Economic prospects have for a while remained uncertain as consumers disposable income is impacted by inflationary pressure combined with lower levels of consumer confidence and the recent  data that suggested that the UK economy has slipped back into recession as the economy contracted over the last two quarters - despite some recent data showing some signs of stability. UK shoppers are feeling pressure on their household budgets more than ever and the economic winds that currently blow down the UK high street are the most severe in two generations and the situation on the high street remains fragile.

As we head into a summer that so many will hope will see a surge in the feel good factor, small business owners will have to work as hard as the proverbial Olympic athlete to ensure that consumers return to their businesses and put all their efforts into winning spend. Those that can increase focus on good customer service and retail disciplines will be well positioned for economic recovery over the medium and longer terms.

The Olympics which opens on July 27th is the great unknown for many retailers as it could create a tremendous feel good factor or it could see the general public glued to their screens cheering on Jessica Ennis et al instead of heading to the high street. Just what effect 2012 will have has divided UK retailers - some are revamping key locations, others only expect a modest uplift despite the surge in footfall expected.

They can probably rest assured as experience from other major events such as the Sydney Olympics where Australia experienced a 3bn economic boost for their games, ¼ of which was attributed to the retail sector.

The supply chain conundrum that many businesses would  have faced with a plethora of route restrictions in the capital has been overcome as businesses have been permitted to  make out of hours deliveries so that they can continue to deliver excellent service and it is essential that shops, pubs and restaurants remain fully stocked over the period.

The situation is further complicated by Governments proposals to relax Sunday opening trading Laws for two months from July 22. Some argue,  including the Association of Convenience stores, that it would hit trade at independent shops as it favours the larger outlets: the proposals will only apply to those shops over 280sq meters and are restricted to any 6 hours of continuous trading between 10.00am and 6.00pm on a Sunday. Others welcome the proposals citing greater flexibility and convenience it offers customers. Certainly the proposals have divided opinion amongst retailers.

Major transport project Crossrail is key to the redevelopment of East London - and will continue to create retail opportunities. East London having already been firmly put on the map after the opening of Westfield Stratford City last year. Crossrail will totally change the way Londoners travel and shop with and is estimated to create an extra 75,000 square feet of retail space in and around the new stations.

EMF Group

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