By and  on June 8, 2012

Many a London resident might be moaning about the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games that kick off on July 27. The collective whine can be heard all the way from Hampstead to Herne Hill, and from Brook Green to Bow: The crowds! The congestion! The sweaty London Underground! Tens of thousands of London-based civil servants have already been granted permission to work from home, while thousands more private sector workers are blowing out of town for strategically engineered holidays aimed at avoiding the two peak weeks of the Games.

But retailers — who have barely had time to pack up their Diamond Jubilee tea towels, biscuit tins, cake stands and Union Jack bunting — are approaching the Olympic sports spectacle with relish. According to a report from Visa, a global Olympics sponsor for the past 25 years, the upcoming event will generate 750 million pounds, or $1.16 billion at current exchange, in consumer spending over the total seven-week period, mainly from foreign visitors. In its report, “A Golden Opportunity: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Expenditure and Economic Impact,” Visa says the Games will bring an economic stimulus of 5.1 billion pounds, or $7.85 billion, to Britain between now and 2015, when the halo effect of hosting the Games wears off.

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