Scotland business

Scottish retail sales 'boosted by early Easter'

People carrying shopping bags Image copyright ALAMY

This year's early Easter helped boost retail sales last month, according to a new report.

The SRC-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor found total Scottish sales fell in March by 0.1%, compared with a year ago.

However, when adjusted for deflation, sales increased by 1.9% in real terms.

Total food sales were up 0.5% over the year, which was the category's best performance for 11 months, while non-food sales were 0.7% lower.

Retail experts said sales were boosted by Easter, which was included in March's figures this year as opposed to April last year.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said many people used the bank holiday break to spruce up their homes and gardens, benefiting furniture sales.

Health and beauty ranges were also popular in March as gifts for Mother's Day.

'Easter bounce'

David Martin, SRC head of policy, said: "Following a strong increase in footfall, retail sales returned the best performance for almost a year in March and provided a welcome boost to what has been an otherwise sluggish first quarter in 2015.

"Whilst consumer confidence continues to rebound and the underlying economic conditions improve, much of the bounce was thanks to Easter falling two weeks earlier than last year.

"This allowed retailers to capitalise on the key trading days of Good Friday and Easter Saturday.

"Retailers have now enjoyed the Easter bounce so, looking ahead, April's figures may prove more challenging."

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