Sales increased by almost half at one of the West Midlands’ best-known retailers over the summer, despite fears of an Olympic slowdown.
Lee Longlands, headquartered on Broad Street, saw sales grow by £470,000 in the six weeks after the start of the Olympics – an increase of 49 per cent year-on-year.
Managing director Robert Lee said the improvement in fortunes at the furnishings firm came despite speculation before the Games that the London Olympics would be yet more bad news for retailers.
He believes the feelgood factor generated by the Games helped to make people forget the economic gloom and boost their spending on the high street – particularly with British-made furniture.
He said: “We were already up three per cent last quarter on like for like sales compared to 2011, but since the Olympics have started we’ve seen footfall increase dramatically and then sales for the last six weeks have gone through the roof – up some 49 per cent. The success of London 2012 has definitely been a key factor.
“It has given the nation a real lift and pushed a lot of the negative economic news out of the media spotlight.
“When you combine this with the fact consumers haven’t been going out or travelling as much as normal, it means they’ve had more disposable time and income to spend on their home.”
Lee Longlands is celebrating its 110th year in business this year, after Robert Lee – the great-grandfather of the current managing director – and George Longland first opened a store at 304 Broad Street after forming the firm in 1902.
Mr Lee said the company had been more aggressive on pricing and promotional campaigns.
Mr Lee said the company, which has stores in Birmingham, Cheltenham, Leamington Spa and Oxford, had been more aggressive on pricing and promotional campaigns.
It has also had a drive on British furniture, with its Broad Street headquarters home to more than 30 domestic brands, including Duresta, Ercol, and ViSpring.
Mr Lee, who is the fourth generation of his family to be at the helm of the firm, said: “There’s been a lot of talk about the downturn in the economy and the high-street has undoubtedly been taking the brunt of it.
“This means as retailers we have to work harder to capture the imagination of the consumer in terms of generating value, exclusivity of the ranges and outstanding customer service.
“I was a little bit concerned about the possible impact of the Olympics on sales. I shouldn’t have worried, the upturn that took place looks set to continue with everyone now settling down to enjoy the excitement of the Paralympics.”