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Shopping marathon in store at Olympics

[ 2012-07-03 11:00] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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The gleaming Westfield Stratford City mall poses an interesting question about human behavior: Is it possible to head off to a major international sports event and forget to go?

Could a person be so distracted by 250 shops, 70 restaurants, 14 bowling lanes and a 24-hour casino that they don't complete their journey to Olympic Park, just a few short steps away?

"I really hope so," said John Burton, the mall's development director. He's only half-joking.

The placement of the $2.75 billion mall -between the area's public transit hub and the Olympic Park's main entry - means an estimated 75 percent of fans will have to walk through it to reach venues for showcase events like gymnastics, swimming, basketball and track.

Sheer retail genius or simply diabolical, depending on your point of view.

Either way, it's likely to be a marketing bonanza, with several million fans expected to pass by at least twice on the day they have Olympic tickets. It's on the way home, when visitors are no longer worried about clearing security to get to their seats on time, that Westfield is likely to rake in millions.

"As people leave, I'm pretty sure we'll see a very large percentage actually stopping and having a good look and hopefully spending, but if nothing else at least soaking up the atmosphere," Burton said.

The mall is gigantic by any standards. It has taken an Australian company (Westfield, based in Sydney) to bring American-style shopping to London, first at its Shepherd's Bush mall, which opened four years ago, and now at its location next to the Olympic complex.

Westfield and other smaller malls are having an impact on London, a city laid out on an informal village scheme in which residential areas are anchored by "high streets" where shops, banks, restaurants and groceries are found.

Residents can typically walk to the high streets within a few minutes, then hop on an Underground train to commute to work if needed. But high street stores have been losing customers lately, in part because of competition from malls with movie theaters and fancy shops.

"People are willing to travel farther now in order to get a massive cluster of shopping brands," said Keith Bowman, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers.

The mythical southern California lifestyle is evoked by a number of shops - no real surprise in a country experiencing one of its coldest, dreariest summers on record. New York Yankees baseball caps, which have been made trendy by rap mogul Jay-Z, are selling well.

"It's brilliant," said local carpenter Barry Heath, 41, as he shopped with his wife Sharon. "To find any of these shops, we used to have to go into central London, Oxford Street, King's Road, Chelsea, all those places. It used to take me an hour, but now it takes me five minutes."

He said the mall, and the whole Summer Olympics, have helped transform east London, which had long suffered from neglect.

The Olympics run from July 27 to Aug 12, but Westfield will be there for decades.


1. Where is the new mall placed?

2. Which country is the mall developer from?

3. When do the Olympics run from?


1. Between the public transit hub and the Olympic Park’s main entry.

2. Australia.

3. July 27 to Aug 12.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Shopping marathon in store at Olympics

About the broadcaster:

Shopping marathon in store at Olympics

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.