Did Games deliver gold?

Retailer near entrance of main venue sees traffic and crowd control slash business during sports fest.

But other businesses register benefits of good weather and the Commonwealth feelgood factor.

Glasgow marks the beginning of this summer’s Commonwealth Games. In sports terms the events were a spectacular success. But, while some retailers saw benefits, some businesses close to venues were negatively affected.

SCOTTISH retailers included winners and losers during Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. Event popularity, and large crowds making their way to the sports, brought success to some stores but disaster to others.

John Creighton, team leader at the Co-op, Battlefield Road – which is on some key bus routes and close to the main railway station access for Hampden Park, the venue for the Commonwealth Games athletics events and the closing ceremony – said: “We had really good sales and we didn’t have any issues with supply.
“We arranged beforehand to get our deliveries earlier, 7am instead of midday, so that helped. Generally, it went without a hitch.”
But another retailer near Hampden Park tells a very different story.
Mohammed Arfan, manager of King’s Park Convenience Store in Aitkenhead Road, more or less immediately opposite the heavily fenced and crowd-managed approach to the stadium’s main entrance, said: “It was a disaster for retailers. We lost at least 30-40% of business due to road closures.
“There was no parking and we couldn’t get deliveries.
“Our regular customers were blocked off and the crowds who came to Hampden Park were told to keep moving and just buy stuff when they were inside.
“The benefit was over-exaggerated. I was full of joy when they announced the Commonwealth Games, but in the end the place was like a ghost town. I was left standing at the door to my shop wondering ‘where are my customers?’”
He said he’d heard rumours some retailers would be seeking compensation for loss of trade.
Some locations, like Basic Necessities in Dumbarton Road, near Scotstoun Sports Campus, which housed the squash and table tennis tournaments, didn’t see much impact at all.
“We were absolutely fine, got everything okay, no problems with deliveries,” said proprietor Christopher Dean.
“We didn’t really notice any change in sales. The consensus around seemed to be, if anything, that some stores didn’t do as well as in a normal week.
“But for us, we were neither up nor down.”
Independent co-operative Scotmid offered a positive report for its outlets. A spokesperson said: “Our stores enjoyed good customer footfall and a boost along a number of product categories.
“Additionally, our stores were not affected by any logistical or practical issues caused by the Games.”
Across Scotland as a whole, shopper numbers were up. Analysis from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard showed footfall in Scotland rose by 4.4% in July – the highest regional footfall improvement in the UK.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “We will have to wait for the publication of our Scottish monitor to see what impact, if any, the swollen footfall numbers had in relation to actual sales.”
In and beyond Glasgow, the Games sparked an increased demand for iconic Scottish food and drink, according to Tesco.
The supermarket giant saw haggis sales take a dramatic upswing in the first week of events and was soon predicting demand to rise by 80%.
“We expected to see demand grow in our Scottish stores but customers right across Britain are buying Scottish products,” said Sarah Mackie, head of local sourcing.
“It’s testament to the wonderful range of products that producers in Scotland create.”