Friday, September 28, 2012

Olympics Fail to Increase Sales in UK Shops

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. retail (adj.) 
[ree-teyl] – pertains to sale of goods in small quantities directly to customers
Example: She opened a retail store for clothes and fashion items.

2. contrary (adj.) [kon-trer-ee] – very different; quite the opposite
Example: The success of London Olympics is contrary to the bad forecast of some newspapers.

3. opt (v.) [opt] – to choose one thing instead of another
Example: She opted to buy the red dress instead of the yellow one for her birthday party.

4. broadcast (n.) [brawd-kast, -kahst] – to show or to transmit message or information through radio or television
Example: There will be a live television broadcast of the band’s concert.

5. vacancy (n.) [vey-kuhn-see] –  the  availability of rooms or space for use
Example: The vacancy rates in hotels decreased because of many tourists visiting the country.

Read the text below.

The Olympic games that ended last August caused a drop in UK retail sales, contrary to hopes that the games would help British economy.

In a survey by the British Retail Consortium, retail sales decreased by 0.4% compared to the figures from the same month last 2011. Data also show that the sales in August were the weakest since November last year.

Instead of encouraging people to shop, the Olympics led people to just stay home and watch the games.

But even online shopping experienced the lowest growth since October 2008. The decline was evident during evenings, when residents opted to watch broadcasts of Olympic events rather than go online shopping.

Other products like clothes for women also had low sales, although women’s shoe sales were higher compared to men’s footwear. The number of shop visitors, specifically in central London, also significantly decreased during this period.

Not surprisingly, the sales of food and drinks increased as a result of the Olympics plus the hot summer weather. However, these products had poor sales during the rest of the year.

Overall, the situation of retail industry in Britain does not look good. Vacancy rates in London shops increased from January to June. According to Local Data Company, an average of 14.6% of retail shops in Britain is empty. This is mainly due to less consumer spending, popularity of online shops and stores moving out to expand.

BRC explained that the effect of the Olympics in the low retail sales should not cause panic, since other areas in the country are exhibiting better performance than in London.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the factors that can affect the sales of a store or a company?
·         What kinds of products usually sell the most in your country? Why do you think a lot of people buy these products?

Discussion B

·         Would you say the UK made a good investment by hosting the Olympics this year? Why or why not?
·         What are some of the long-term benefits that the UK may gain after hosting the Olympics?

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