Travelling around it seems to me from purely personal observation that the US is in the eye of the economic storm, the UK is just entering it and the Europeans haven't woken up to what is happening.
In London with the exception of American and European tourists enjoying the collapse in the value of the pound the shops were not as busy as I had expected them to be at the height of the January sales. Clothes that I had seen in Jermyn Street in December were now being marked down 50% but the buyers were primarily from outside the UK - the accents in the stores were primarily New England, Swedish and German. The pictures taken on the camera phone give a pretty good indication of how quiet London was at 11.00 am. It wasn't Armageddon but certainly much quieter than usual. One cab driver told me his takings were down 30% from the same time last year and would have been lower if it wasn't for the influx of tourists on weekend shopping trips.