Aug. 8 - Ahead of the London Olympics, it was hoped they would raise the country's spirits and help Britain bounce out of recession. As the Games heads to the home straight, it doesn't look like the event will give a much-needed boost. Joanna Partridge reports.
UPSOUND Tuneful fans, upbeat atmosphere - and the home team collecting its biggest medal haul in a century. The London Olympics were expected to raise Britain's spirits during a recession - and encourage us to spend. As the Games head into the home straight, it doesn't look like they will give the UK economy a golden boost. Last week central London resembled a ghost town. Now the Bank of England has slashed its growth forecast for the next two years. And figures from the British Retail Consortium for July showed consumers didn't go on a shopping spree before the Games. But some British firms are riding the wave of success. Bradley Wiggins followed his Tour de France win with an Olympic gold. Team GB's velodrome victories have convinced many Brits to get on their bikes. They've noticed increased interest at bike retailer Evans Cycles. SOUNDBITE: TIM REESE, AREA MANAGER, EVANS CYCLES, SAYING (English): "Tour jerseys have been selling really well, the 'Wiggo' t-shirts, Sky team kits, have all been selling out. Team GB kits along with, you know people come in and they will need all the accessories, they need helmets." Adidas, the sports goods maker, is expecting higher sales to boost its full-year earnings. The German firm has kit out the British Olympic team - and provided shoes to the thousands of Olympic volunteers. Visa says its account holders spent an additional $717 million on their Visa accounts in the UK. Marc O'Brien from Visa Europe says that takes the total spend on Visa since the start of the Games to $1.4 billion. SOUNDBITE: Marc O'Brien, Managing Director of Visa Europe, saying (English): "Sectors that have been receiving this boost of international spending on their Visa cards has been the restaurant industry in particular, up 20% week-on-week, the same time last year, followed by nightclubs up 24%. But that's not stopping people getting up in the morning. We've seen attractions here in London up 12% on last year." PTC The perception here in Britain is that the London Olympics have been a great success, even if retailers and businesses haven't quite had the boost they were initially expected. The hope now is that the benefits will be longer term, such as attracting more international tourists to London, and will be felt for years to come. Tom Vosa from National Australia Bank thinks the Olympic boost for the economy will be more bronze than gold. SOUNDBITE: Tom Vosa, Head of Market Economics, National Australia Bank, saying (English): "People already know where London is, so we think the tourism revenues will be much lower than the government hopes for and when it comes to exports, really the key indicator here is how well is the global economy, and at this time we are clearly looking at a global economy which softened quite sharply in the second quarter." The Governor of the Bank of England says an Olympic effort is needed to get the British economy growing again. And that will take more than three weeks to achieve. Joanna Partridge, Reuters