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Shoppers flock to UK Olympic mall for fear of recession

09-14-2011 08:55 BJT

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Shoppers have brushed aside fears that Britain is teetering on the brink of another recession. Consumers queued in their thousands, outside Westfield Stratford City, Europe's newest and biggest urban shopping center, on opening day.

Europe's largest urban mall opens its doors on the gateway to the site where London will stage the 2012 Olympics.

London's Mayor Boris Johnson performed the official honors, making some rather bold claims.

He said, "And I'm told already that people on the Rue de Rivoli and the Montmartre, Montparnasse, all the fancy French shopping districts where Carla Bruni shops, I am told they are already excitedly whispering about 'Le Westfield'."

Coming on the heels of recent surveys which show both UK consumer confidence and sales falling, and with nearly one in seven British shops standing vacant, many will wonder whether how this mammoth structure will fare in the long term.

Westfield hopes its new complex will mirror the success of its sister mall in west London, which has done bumper business after launching amid the economic turbulence of 2008.

Shoppers crowd the walkways on opening day of the Westfield Stratford
City in east London.

John Burton, Director of Westfield Stratford City, said, "We're very confident. We've done our homework, we know the capacity here and the fact is that London despite turbulent times across Europe, across the UK, has been incredibly resilient. And the fact is the retailers are the real test here, they've actually signed up in their droves to be a part of this development so they must have a confidence about what we are doing here."

Still, fanfare and optimistic projections aside the 2.8 billion dollar project will be looking for consumers to open their wallets at a time when their budgets are being squeezed.

The biggest rise in utility bills in two years and record hikes in clothing and furniture prices pushed up British inflation in August.

The Office for National Statistics said consumer prices rose 0.6 percent last month, taking the annual inflation rate up to 4.5 percent well above the Bank of England's two percent target.


Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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