Shop owners, market traders and restaurateurs in central London have said their livelihoods are at risk as tourists and locals continue to stay away for the Olympics.
Experian, the research group, said stores in the city centre had suffered a sharp drop in footfall at the start of the Games. The number of people visiting shops on Friday, before the opening ceremony, was down more than 10% on a year ago and off by nearly 12% on Saturday.
Traders in Covent Garden market, one of the capital's leading shopping areas with an estimated 44 million visitors a year, said that desperate trading conditions were depressing sales.
"It's dead as a dodo," said Jeremy Meus, who has run a jewellery stand in the market for 20 years. "This should be one of the peak periods but it's not happening this year. I don't think a lot of traders will survive … how can you when you are barely covering your costs. The Apple shop, if nowhere else, is usually heaving, but not today."
Another trader, Paddy, said sales on his accessories stall were 40% lower. "Before the Olympics it was OK, but the warnings from Transport for London telling people not to come into central London have been heeded by the public," he said.
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