Sunday shoppers give London retailers a run for their money

AS THE Olympic torch wound its way around the streets of London yesterday, the city’s shopkeepers did their best to tempt milling spectators through their doors by using new powers to extend their Sunday trading hours.

Recent profits at several high street names have fallen flat as the expected Jubilee Jump failed to materialise, and plenty of shops – especially those blessed with a licence to use the Games’ branding – hope for some Olympic oomph.

The West End Company said its retailers were expecting up to half a million extra people to flock to the area yesterday. Westfield Stratford, meanwhile, was presumably so busy with all those extra Sunday shoppers that calls from the Capitalist went unreturned.

WORKERS in Canary Wharf may spy some unusually large yachts from their office windows this morning. Apparently billionaires wouldn’t be seen dead at the Olympics without them, so some of the finest examples in the world started tying up in West India Quay at the weekend. Frank Lowy, the Westfield co-founder, has secured a berth for his superyacht, the Ilona, but Lowy’s magnificent 74m craft is dwarfed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s 126m boat, the Octopus, also in town. Entertaining aboard ship will apparently be the fashionable option this summer. It’s a whole new kind of offshoring.