Lasting damage to central London retailing likely
The New West End Company (NWEC) has requested a summit meeting with some of London's leaders and promotional agencies to discuss the consequences of the terrorist incidents for the city's retailers.

The company, which represents the interests of retailers on Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, is asking the Mayor's Office, Visit London, Westminster City Council and lobby group Central London Partnership to come together to fight the problem.

NWEC chief operating officer Gary Reeves said: 'We are requesting an urgent meeting with key agencies to better understand the economic impact of these incidents and develop a co-ordinated strategy to help alleviate short- and medium-term effects on consumer and visitor confidence.'

The call came as London's police came out in force after being put on a provisional high alert. Nine terrorist suspects were also arrested in Tooting, south London.

Earlier in the week, customer traffic analysts revealed the effects of recent incidents on last week's shopper numbers. Analysts at FootFall said shoppers in London were jittery and preferred to avoid the city centre.

FootFall business planning director David Smyth said: 'Retail performance and consumer confidence in central London has begun to suffer in response to the second terrorist attack [July 21], with numbers for the week down 8 per cent year on year and 10.2 per cent down week on week. Shoppers are showing caution about coming into the city, which is having a real effect on retailers and the economy.'

SPSL director of knowledge management Tim Denison also maintained that the terrorist incidents and the reaction to them by the police could leave lasting damage on the capital's retailers.

He noted that after the bomb attacks on July 7, consumer confidence had begun to bounce back. He said: 'What is clear now is that shoppers cannot so easily justify shopping [in central London] if there is the danger of further attacks. As the school holidays start, we expect to see fewer parents prepared to take risks with their children by shopping with them in the capital, however slight the risk.'