LONDON: Britain's late August holiday weekend was no fiesta for the nation's retailers, with shopper numbers on Saturday and Sunday down year-on-year by 10%. And, according to customer traffic and behavioural analysis specialist SPSL, they also fell 9.7% on the holiday Monday.

Commented the researcher: "Sales have been extended to sell off old stock, which has stimulated consumers to carry on shopping, but we foresee tough times ahead."

  • The gloom virus also infected businesses, as measured by BDO Stoy Hayward's monthly confidence index. This fell from July's reading of 101.9 to 101.2 in August.

    The index, which tracks business expectations for the forthcoming six months, hit its lowest point since November 2005.

    And the accountancy firm expects the downward trend to continue into September as the fallout from the US subprime crisis continues to impact on tightened bank lending to businesses.

    However, BDOSH partner Peter Hemington took the now obligatory rosy view of the bursting of the credit-fuelled economic bubble.

    "Economic development in China and India remains a strong driver of world growth and the economic conditions in Europe and America are relatively benign," Hemington rah-rahed

    "Our view is that the volatility in financial markets will not persist into the medium term," he added - sidestepping any definition of the latter phrase.

    Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff