City&FinanceBriefing London Lite Monday, 17 August 2009 27 Tourist rush brings boom to West End TourisTs flocking to Carnaby street, Covent Garden and Chinatown mean business is flour- ishing at West End shops and res- t a u r a n t s, L ondon l a nd lord shaftesbury said today. The inf lux of overseas and domestic tourists to the capital means that shaftesburys portfolio, which includes more than 450 properties centred around Londons Theatreland, is receiving healthy interest among retailers and res- taurateurs, the property firm said. shaftesbury -- which last month raised 149 million through a rights issue, which it used to repay debts -- said it reduced its vacant space from 74,500 square feet in March to 69,000 square feet by the end of July. The landlord said it has new lettings worth 956,000 in the pipe- line -- more than double the volume seen in March. But it wasnt all good news: shaftesbury warned the office market is still weak. Chief executive Jonathan Lane said: The West End, which has proved very resilient throughout the recent period of economic turbulence, continues to prosper and there is now evidence of stabil- ity returning to financial and property markets. We are confident that demand for our shops, restau- rants and residential accommoda- tion will remain strong. The trend looks set to continue after the pound tumbled again today, encouraging more tourists to visit the capital. City bears ramped up pressure on sterling after the Bank of Englands decision to flood the shrinking economy with yet more newly printed cash, and the pound was down 1.75 cents against the us dollar to $1.6369, having hit $1.70 early this month. Magnet: Carnaby St is a big favourite WH Ireland today ditched its interim dividend as the stockbroker remained stuck in the red because of the turmoil in the markets. Our securities arm is still struggling because of a lack of corporate finance activity. Few companies are coming to the market and client acquisition remains muted, chief executive richard Ford explained. He remains cautious about the recent stock-market recovery: at first I thought it was a suckers rally, but it has continued a lot longer than most of us in the City thought it would. Pre-tax losses fell to 523,000 for the six months to end-May, from 736,000 the previous year. last year, it paid an interim dividend of 1p. Troubled Wh Ireland drops divi BY LUCY TOBIN Australia Dollars 1.8629 Canada Dollars 1.7147 Denmark Kroner 8.2234 Eurozone Euro 1.1079 Hong Kong Dollars 12.1800 Japan Yen 150.2300 New Zealand Dollars 2.2667 South Africa Rand 12.4500 Sweden Kronor 11.3200 Switzerland Francs 1.6924 UAE Dirham 5.7052 United States Dollars 1.5808 TourisT raTEs FASHION chain H&M today posted a 3% drop in like-for-like sales in July, after refusing to slash prices as much as rivals as it tried to maintain margins. Hennes & Mauritz is about to launch a collaboration with Jimmy Choo and hopes to repeat the frenzy seen when Matthew Williamson introduced his budget range. CRASH barrier and lamp-post maker Hill & Smith has seen demand pick-up in recent months, and reported a 2% rise in profits in the first half of the year to 20.5 million, despite a 7% fall in sales to 197 million. The company said it was unsure if the rise in orders would be sustained through the second half, but said results would benefit from cost cuts. DOWN 69.16 at 4644.81 fTsE 100 doW jonEs nikkEi -$ DOWN 76.79 at 9321.40 DOWN 328.72 at 10.268.61 DOWN 1.89c at $1.6355 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit thisismoney.co.uk * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html