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LONDON-UK shoppers appear to be heeding the government’s advice that it should be ‘business as usual’ despite the war in Afghanistan and the increased economic uncertainty. Pedestrian flow counters FootFall say that traffic in UK malls was actually up 3.6% this September on the previous year. And according to the British Retail Consortium retail sales were also up 8%, showing an increased average spend-per-head.

Pedestrian traffic fell 6.3%, as an immediate result of the terrorist attacks but since 11 September there has been a gradual recovery in the retail industry and consumer confidence has been largely restored. But the comparative UK figures are somewhat distorted because the comparable weeks last year saw the peak of the fuel crisis – when oil refineries and depots were blockaded by an unlikely alliance of farmers and hauliers – meaning that shoppers were physically unable to get to the malls because their cars had no petrol.

David Smyth, marketing manager at FootFall, said: ‘Consumer confidence is returning but the economic climate is likely to influence how this is affected over the coming weeks. The impact of Tony Blair’s speech on 28 September to encourage spending is not yet evident with the week commencing 1 October 3.5% down on the previous week.’

The FootFall Index measure pedestrian flows in over 50major retail destinations throughout the UK.

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