An explosive device found on Haymarket, near Piccadilly, caused commuter disruption here today, but retail executives suggested the long-term impact on consumer spending will be minimal.

Police cordoned off a radius around where a car carrying petrol, gas cylinders and nails, was found in the early hours of the morning. The explosives were disabled and the vehicle has been removed for examination.

Haymarket and some connecting streets remained closed early Friday afternoon. The street is home to one of Burberry's offices and its design headquarters - which were closed due to the incident today - and is connected to bustling Piccadilly Circus subway station, which was also shuttered for a time while forensic investigations were underway.

"It is too early to be clear and indeed too early to speculate as [to] who might be responsible and we are keeping an entirely open mind," said DAC Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command and national coordinator of terrorist investigations, in a statement today. "It is obvious that if the device had detonated there could have been significant injury or loss of life. The vehicle was parked in one of the busiest parts of central London in the early hours of a Friday morning when many, many people were leaving nightclubs and other places after an evening out."

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