M&A slowdown and other Olympics business news

Boris Johnson

The Olympics has caused a slowdown in the merger and acquisitions market, a top lawyer claims.

Ian Martin, corporate M&A partner at Macfarlanes, says many deals were put on hold in the run-up to the Games to avoid disruption. This suggests there could be a flurry of activity in September as delayed deals are resumed.

John Lewis has announced that sales rose 22.4% year-on-year in the first week of the Games, reaching £63.3 million. 

The employee-owned company’s trading figures, which are published earlier than its rivals, are seen as a reliable barometer of high street health.

Electronics sales rose by a third as customers bought bigger television sets to watch the Olympics on.

The feel-good factor of Team GB's medal success has had a direct impact in uplifting sales

Tim Harrison, head of commercial format and implementation, said that “undoubtedly, the feel-good factor of Team GB’s medal success has had a direct impact in uplifting sales,” adding that it was “certainly a great way to start the new half year.”

There is good news from West End retailers too. Experian found that spectators at the Men’s Triathlon “subsequently dispersed into nearby shops,” resulting in a 13.5% uplift in footfall. Luxury brands in particular enjoyed an Olympics boost, with a 13.1% increase in footfall in West End luxury stores during the first weekend of the Games. 

One business that certainly hasn’t felt a benefit from the Games has taken an unusual step to recover losses. The owner of High Timber restaurant, which is based on the Thames near St Pauls, has sent Mayor Boris Johnson a bill for £90,000 after suffering an 80 percent drop in business. 

Neleen Strauss blames Boris because “he warned Londoners to leave room for the millions of visitors he said would come to the capital.” She argues that this left her restaurant without its usual customer base as City workers worked from home, while tourists clustered around the Olympic Park.

Other restaurant owners in the West End and City have reported a drop in trade of up to 70 per cent, according to the British Hospitality Association.




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