The Salvation Army's Christmas kettles are not only a welcome sight in shopping malls, but their presence generates holiday business, a survey released Saturday shows.

The survey was prompted in response to the policies of some mall chains that prohibited Salvation Army kettles and bell ringers on their premises last year. Barbara Bush later gave a much-needed boost to the group, saying she supported the worldwide non-sectarian organization's efforts.The survey found that almost 90 percent of the shoppers agreed that Salvation Army kettles add to the holiday spirit, and 97 percent felt that the money collected by the Salvation Army was put to good use.

Most of the shoppers surveyed at a mall that did not allow Salvation Army kettles on the premises felt that donating to a Salvation Army kettle actually put them in a better frame of mind for shopping.

Many shopping malls whose holiday plans traditionally include the Salvation Army's presence reported increased traffic in their places of business, said Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo, which conducted the survey.

All funds received in the Salvation Army's traditional Christmas campaign go directly to the needy, said Lt. Col. Leon Ferraez, spokesman for the Salvation Army's national headquarters in Verona, N.J.

Last year's donations enabled the Salvation Army to provide food, clothing, shelter, companionship, gifts and visitations to more than 6 million needy people across the country. This year, the number of people needing help is expected to be even higher, he said.