Businesses failing to benefit from Olympics, say traders

Businesses failing to benefit from Olympics, say traders

Francis Batt

Businesses failing to benefit from Olympics, say traders

Dreams of an Olympic boost to Windsor's traders have conspicuously failed to come true so far.

Traders fought hard to persuade the Olympic Delivery Committee to agree to let the park and ride between Windsor Great Park and Eton Dorney Lake run until 9pm.

It was hoped this would give visitors to the Games time to shop or eat in the town after the day's events ended.

But this week Martin Miranda, the manager of King Edward Court shopping centre, said there had been a marked decline in sales over the first weekend of the Olympics.

He admitted he was disappointed, saying: "Councillors were telling us this was a great business opportunity to capitalise on the Olympics. It has been fine for sponsors or anyone lucky enough to have a shop in the Olympic village but not for anyone else."

He said that shops at King Edward tended to be more suitable for community shoppers rather than visitors. But community shoppers had stayed away fearing traffic chaos that had never materialised.

Sue Watts, manager of the upmarket Windsor Royal Shopping adjoining King Edward Court, said: "It has been very disappointing in terms of footfall, considerably down on the same time last year. Only the cafes and restaurants are doing well."

Paul Roach, town centre manager, was pleased that feared traffic chaos that could have disrupted businesses had not happened. But he acknowledged that the downside had been that regular shoppers were staying away and the hoped-for visiting customers were not happening yet.

He said: "We aren't seeing the numbers of people coming into town we had hoped. It has been slow."

But he said there was still plenty of time with the possibility of gold medal wins at nearby Dorney a potential catalyst for a turnaround.

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