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Olympics helps shoppers race back to central London

The feel-good factor inspired by the Olympics has helped shoppers return to London’s high streets after an initial drop off in footfall.

New research showed that footfall rose in central London in the first weekend in August as a flurry of gold medals for Team GB boosted consumer confidence.

Research house Springboard reported an 8.3% year-on-year rise on Saturday - dubbed ‘Golden Saturday’ after the successful exploits of athletes Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford - and a 5.4% increase in shopper numbers on Sunday.

London’s West End had been described as a ‘ghost town’ in the first weekend of the Olympics as shoppers heeded warnings over congestion in the capital’s centre and watched the Games instead.

Olympics sponsor Deloitte said last week that 59% of retailers had reported an increase in demand as a result of the Games.

John Lewis said on Friday that a 22.4% leap in sales the previous week was due to the Olympics “feel good factor”.

Meanwhile, the relaxation of Sunday trading laws for six weeks from the beginning of the Olympics until the end of the Paralympics has sparked a rift in the coalition government.

Business secretary and Liberal Democrat Vince Cable has objected to suggestions from Conservative MPs that the temporary relaxation of laws on large stores’ opening hours could be made permanent.

Cable said the move would be fought by unions, small businesses and the Church, The Telegraph reported.

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