Mood at its lowest level since the Iraq war
Consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level since the Iraq war, indicating that the tough trading environment for retailers seems set to continue.

A barometer of consumer confidence from market research firm GfK NOP fell to -8 for October from -5 in September. It is now the lowest since March 2003, when the US-led invasion of Iraq took place.

GfK NOP divisional director Grant Montague said: 'We continue to see the nation in subdued mood compared with the earlier part of 2005. Confidence continues on a downward trend - this is the third consecutive month that we have seen the index fall.'

A separate GfK index that measures perceptions of the general economic situation over the coming 12 months fell by three points month on month for October, to -19, showing that the public is pessimistic about the future strength of the economy.