'Upbeat' rise in Scottish shopper numbers

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More shoppers were tempted into Scotland's stores in April, according to Scottish Retail Consortium figures.

The SRC said the footfall results were "upbeat and promising" but it would have to wait to see if this translated to a spike in sales.

The April results saw total shopper numbers up 5.2% on the same month a year ago.

The retail consortium said the timing of this year's Easter break and special promotions had attracted shoppers.

Across the UK, the footfall rate fell slightly over the year. Only Northern Ireland showed a stronger recovery than Scotland in the numbers returning to the shops.

The number of empty premises in Scotland fell slightly in April but it is still a little above the UK average.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said the improved footfall figures followed several months in which the declining trend had become much less pronounced.

"However, we will need to wait until April's Scottish retail sales data is published later this month to see whether the spike in shoppers has translated into an actual increase in sales and for indications as to whether it is sustainable," he said.

"The improvement in the vacancy rate is similarly encouraging.

"That said, one out of every 10 retail premises remains empty, and is a stark reminder of the need for government and local authorities to keep down business rates and make it simple and cost effective for retailers to invest in property."

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