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Retail footfall down as a London shop burns again

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A Footlocker store in Brixton, which was targeted in the widespread riots last week, had fire crews beating back another blaze in its building this morning.

The south London outlet was the victim of an arson attack on Sunday August 7th 2011, as part of the four nights of nationwide violence and looting which has had such a detrimental effect on UK traders.

Police say that the cause of this latest fire, which began around 23:00 BST last night, is “yet to be determined” but if the rumours of a deliberate attack prove correct, the additional damage caused to the property could further dent confidence regarding trading in the capital.

Yesterday, information services firm Experian produced figures which showed a four per cent drop in national retail footfall for the week commencing August 8th, with London boroughs particularly affected.

Week-on-week, the number of shoppers visiting UK stores fell 1.6 per cent during the seven days, a better than expected performance considering the disruption to trading in many major cities.

Although city and town centres were the most physically damaged by last week’s riots, out-of-town retail parks saw the biggest decline in footfall week-on-week during the period, falling 6.1 per cent, which perhaps has more to do with a long-term reduction in consumer spending.

Experian’s report stated: “A challenging week for retailers, many of whom were forced to close early to deal with the aftermath of violence and looting or simply as a precaution. A knock-on impact from fewer trading hours is less footfall.

“However, despite the difficulties footfall levels compared against the same week last year were only down four per cent. The week-on-week fall of 1.6 per cent is in line with last year’s trend, as the summer holidays are now in full swing and fewer shoppers are expected.

“On Thursday and Friday consumers’ confidence returned and the index shows an improvement in shopper levels, down only 2.7 per cent on last year.”

Published on Wednesday 17 August by Editorial Assistant

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