The UK's retail sales fell by 0.2 per cent between July and August, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This has been largely attributed to the joint influences of the recession and London 2012, as many consumers opted to watch the Olympic and Paralympic Games rather than go out shopping.
It also suggests that the decision to extend Sunday store trading hours, and allow them to be open for longer than the six hours between 10:00BST and 18:00 BST (as is the norm), failed to boost the industry in the way that many had hoped.
Interestingly, the ONS figures show something of a divide between smaller and larger supermarkets during the Olympic period. While sales in small shops fell by 4.5 per cent year-on-year, big retailers enjoyed a two per cent equivalent rise.
Victoria Clarke, an economist at Investec, told the Telegraph that this result was likely to be a direct effect of the suspension of normal Sunday trading rules.
"This may well provide further food for thought for the UK policymakers as they continue to assess ways and means of tweaking policy to provide a boost to UK output ," she told the source.
The Olympics effect also took its toll on e-commerce stores, despite the fact that these are usually fairly resilient to whatever affects the high street.
"Feedback from online retailers suggests that sales were lower as consumers watched the Olympics instead of shopping online," the ONS said.
Web purchases represented nine per cent of total retail sales in July, but just 8.1 per cent in August, the smallest proportion all year.
Clive Black, a retail analyst at Shore Capital, told the Financial Times that this was due to the fact that the TV became compulsive viewing and people became glued to their telly screens rather than their computers.
However, Google analytics during the period suggest that the Games were 'multi-screen', as searches and social media activity on tablets and smartphones peaked during the most significant moments, such as the opening ceremony.
Certain retailers such as John Lewis and Sports Direct, did enjoy some positive news, as the iconic event provided a boost to the sales of sporting goods and toys.
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