Britain carries on shopping

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The Independent Online

British consumers are fuelling the retail boom by spending on the high street, seemingly unaffected by last month's terrorist attacks in America.

The British Retail Consortium will tomorrow release its figures on high-street sales for September, and it is thought they will show a growth rate of at least 8 per cent compared to the previous year.

Retailers across the board said September – which often sees a fall in growth as people save up after summer holidays and in preparation for Christmas – had been a buoyant month in terms of sales.

"The day after the attacks there was a slowing in sales. But things have picked up again," said a spokeswoman from a high-street retail chain.

Kevin Hawkins, Safeway's spokesman, said there was no sign of any "significant downturn", and Nigel Wreford-Brown, merchandise director of John Lewis, said trade had continued to be good.

"Our London store has seen a slight drop in sales but the trade across the country remains good," said Mr Wreford-Brown.

Analysts expect GUS, which will this week post a trading update for its second quarter, to show strong figures. Richard Ratner, retail analyst at Seymour Pierce, said sales for last month will be strong.

According to a Confederation of British Industry survey, released last week, as many as 62 per cent of retailers canvassed said sales for September were up compared to a year ago. Just 8 per cent said there had been a fall.

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