The UK's beleaguered high street failed to receive a boost during the Olympics, a report suggested today, while retailers' optimism took its biggest slide for three years.
The survey by the CBI business body found that 31 per cent of retailers suffered lower sales volumes than a year ago over the first two weeks of August - a period that coincided with the Games - while 27 per cent believed them to be higher.
The resulting balance of 3 per cent that reported lower sales was worse than expectations and dealt a blow to hopes that a feel-good factor from the Games would help lift some of the gloom over the sector.
Although many retailers remained hopeful of a sales bounce in September, a balance of 17 per cent expect the business situation to deteriorate over the next three months as sentiment weakened at its fastest rate since February 2009.
Judith McKenna, chairwoman of the CBI distributive trades panel and Asda chief operating officer, said: "Although this summer's events created a mood of celebration across the nation, these figures would suggest this positivity did not extend to the high street.
"However, although retailers expect the overall business situation to worsen in the coming three months, they still expect sales to rise year-on-year in September."