Shop til you drop

breaking01.jpgIf the effects of the recession have become too much for you, there's only one place to spend away your misery this week, and that's Westfield, the new shopping mall which opened in West London yesterday.With a car park bigger than Macclesfield and escalators that, if put end to end, are rumoured to be able to take you to Argentina and back, Westfield is massive - and when plans for it were announced five years ago, they made it look like the best idea anyone in West London had had since, well, ever.Local traders have voiced mixed opinions over the opening: on the one hand, there have been grumblings that the mall may drive trade away from smaller shops, while others have welcomed Westfield, saying it will drive new shoppers to an area which has never really been renowned for its shopping prowess.The timing could have been better: the grand opening of this temple of consumerism has come exactly a week after the British Retail Consortium released figures showing retailers are lookin at a 'tough' run-up to Christmas.The centre's businesses (Louis Vuitton and Mulberry number among the more high-end retailers) are reportedly doing everything in their power to get consumers interested - fashion shows and discounts and everything.A place like Westfield is a sort of microcosm of the UK's retail outlook as a whole - so it'll be interesting to see what its retailers do to deal with the effects of plummeting consumer confidence.

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