East End will ‘cash in on Olympics in long-term’
Could Westfield’s two day closure to everyday shoppers of Stratford City last week have left London’s East End retailers to pick up the slack?
The question was posed by the monitoring Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 body
Shaun McCarthy, its chair, said this week: “With 250,000 people expected to pile into the Park every day, restricting access makes sense from a health and safety point of view and I suspect it will make little difference to the takings. Westfield simply becomes part of the experience, an extension of the Park which could also, hopefully, drive the crowds to the wider East End in search of shops.
However, McCarthy cautioned against optimism.
“Jeremy Hunt (Culture Secretary) says London’s retailers are ‘quids in’ because of the Games’ presence. I don’t think that’s true, strictly speaking - who would have thought the West End could ever be so quiet? Why go to the West End when you have everything you need in Stratford?”
He said ten, or even five years ago, people would have laughed at that statement, so if the East End is picking up that trade instead, then he’s happy.
“But let’s not get too excited about the individual economic value of these shoppers. People are not going to go on a shopping spree just because it’s the Olympics – most people are operating on a budget and the Games won’t change that. My prediction is that in the short term, an East End retailer won’t see a huge difference in profits.
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“But in the longer term, the people who’ve had a taste of the East will keep coming back for more, and that’s what will translate into regeneration.”
More on http://www.cslondon.org/2012/08/the-future-is-east/