International News - Paris retailers hurt by strikes

Retailers in Paris have been hit by strikes that brought much of France to a standstill.Workers downed tools as unions came out against unpopular reforms of pension laws by the French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

Retail Traffic Index figures released by SPSL showed that shopper numbers fell 5.8 per cent on Tuesday last week.

Traffic at some shops fell by 45 per cent. In the suburbs, however, average numbers were up about 36 per cent.

SPSL director Dr Tim Denison said French consumers are fickle in their shopping habits. He said: 'Clearly the prospect of long delays in central Paris was enough to put off all but the most determined shopper, even as the stores fill up with the latest summer fashion ranges.'