The 2012 Olympics have provided a boost to London’s retail sales and tourism sector, says Mayor Boris Johnson.
The London Underground set ridership records two days in a row last week. Last Thursday, the subway system set a record with 4.3 million riders, then bested that number on Friday with more than 4.4 million.
“This is testimony to years of meticulous planning and billions of pounds in investment which combined has ensured that athletes, spectators, officials and media are being ferried smoothly to their events,” Johnson said, according to a statement on the Transport for London website.
There were reports last week that London retailers were suffering because people were avoiding heading into the city fearing large Olympic crowds.
Richard Dickinson, CEO of the New West End Company that represents businesses on the busy thoroughfares of Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Bond Street had asked that the city not scare people away from the downtown core.
“We said, ‘Look, just tone down the messaging bit’, which they have done. There are now different messages saying enjoy the shopping and entertainment,” Dickinson said according to a report in The Telegraph.
The New West End Company reported on Tuesday that their retailers indeed performed well last weekend.
“Figures over the weekend indicate that the retail sector is more than holding its own,” says the company’s website.
The Company along with other local retail associations and VisitBritain conducted an informal survey on Saturday and Sunday of 200 shoppers in the West End, London’s busy tourist corridor.
Of those surveyed—87 percent of whom were from overseas—99 percent replied that they hoped to visit London again in the future.
Entertainment was cited as being enjoyed most of all, with shopping coming in a close second. Most respondents also said they enjoyed the food and that it exceeded their expectations.
The mayor attributed some of the increased traffic flow to success of Team Great Britain.“This jaw-dropping weekend of outstanding sporting success for Team GB has seen many hundreds of thousands of people traveling to 2012 venues and crowds several deep lining the streets to cheer on Triathlon and Marathon competitors,” Johnson said.
According to Dickinson, the biggest winner in terms of retail sales was Olympic merchandise.