The Olympic Outlet Discount Shopping Village being built in the Lower Lea Valley area of East London, known as the Olympic Village, is reducing rentals after having difficulty reaching minimum occpancy levels as recession-hit businesses struggle to justify leasing space in the new shopping centre.
'We are aiming to minimise the empty space and shuttered units for the Olympics,' said David Crawford, Chairman of Lend Lease, the Australian company tasked with building the village, 'it would simply reek of run-down, unloved city centres. I mean, have you seen Gloucester recently?'
The prevalence of lower-end shopping throughout the country is being mirrorred at the Olympic Village, with many of the newly-reduced units being snapped up by lesser high street names such as Matalan, QS (formerly Bewise) and Primark.
The lure of cheap clothing threatens to undermine the Olympic Games themselves as the planned regeneration of the Stratford area of London is quickly turning into the construction of the chav capital of the UK, marking itself out as somewhere not to visit for most of the potential Olympic guests.
'Sponsorship deals have gone a long way to securing long-duration leases on many of the units,' said Mr Crawford, 'but with a prevalence of stores perceived as "down-market" taking our spaces we're struggling to garner interest from the more aspirational end of the spectrum - Animal, White Stuff and Fat Face have all turned us down. Even New Look has said no.'
The most high-profile example of his sponsorship idea is the cut-price designer goods outlet TK Maxx, who have agreed to sponsor Team GB for both the dressage and table tennis teams.
'Unfortunately, the company's sponsorship only goes so far,' said a disappointed Crawford. 'They have happily bought proper dressage equipment for the equestrians as they don't tend to stock anything suitable, but the chaps from the table tennis team have had to scramble around the activewear section of the London store trying to find clothing in vaguely Team GB colours.'
'They've managed to find quite a selection,' he continued, 'although one of their major frustrations was finding something relatively nice, only to discover it was the only one in the store, had a dark stain mark on one sleeve and wasn't actually the size stated on the label.'
Some of the choicest finds the team has made include previous season Reebok trainers 'only half a size out' and some decent Umbro 'seconds' football tops. 'Unfortunately one of the lads could only find tops which fitted from the ladies section,' said Crawford. 'The pink will undoubtedly make him stand out during his fifteen minutes of fame at least.'
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