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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK
Strong spring for Scottish retailers
Money in till
Shoppers boosted Scotland's economy
Retail sales in Scotland enjoyed their highest monthly increase for more than a year in April, according to figures.

The Scottish Retail Sales Monitor revealed Scotland's retailers outperformed the rest of the UK in April for the second month in a row.

The group said the strong performance was boosted in part by the mini-heatwave north of the border.

The figures showed total sales increased by 9.9% when set against the same period last year, while like-for-like sales - which exclude the effect of new businesses - were up by 4.9%.

The Scottish totals were ahead of the UK figures of 7.6% growth in total sales and a like-for-like increase of 4.8%.

The combination of Easter and the exceptionally warm weather in April resulted in an extremely positive month
Jeremy Peat,

The statistics are compiled by the Scottish Retail Consortium from surveys sent out to retailers across the country.

Analysts said sales were also boosted by the late Easter date and the fact that Scotland is traditionally less susceptible than other parts of Britain to economic downturns.

Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "Scotland is continuing to outperform the rest of the UK, as we tend to do in terms of economic turmoil.

"However, the 'Easter effect' and Scotland's better-than-UK performance cannot mask the underlying pressure on margins."

Jeremy Peat, group chief economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland, added: "The combination of Easter and the exceptionally warm weather in April resulted in an extremely positive month for the Scottish retail sector.

"Strong consumer confidence which was evident in March continued apace, contributing to the highest three-month average growth since the peak of last summer."

BBC Scotland's Laura McIvor
"Scottish results were better than those for the rest of the UK"

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