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Multiples make the most of bank holiday sales boom ...

The sunshine brought shoppers onto the high street in force over the Easter bank holiday weekend, with some describing it as the best Easter weekend in several years.

In a Drapers poll, multiple retailers reported positive trading in stark contrast to last year, when a resurgent Marks & Spencer compounded poor spring performance for many.

This year, retail footfall fell 10.3% over Easter, but fashion retailers appeared to defy the general trend.

With the temperature hitting 20degC in Hampshire on Good Friday, as well as Easter falling a week closer to pay day than last year, shoppers responded well to this season's key trends.

Peacocks managing director Tim Bettley said: "We've had a great Easter weekend, with good double-digit sales growth compared with last year - it's been one of the best Easter weekends in the past seven years. The good weather helped and we weren't on Sale. Leggings and baby doll dresses were strong sellers."

Steve Cohen, managing director of 35-strong menswear chain Blue Inc, said like-for-like sales were "comfortably ahead" of last year. "Summer product, including shorts, linen shirts and sunglasses, all sold well, and there were even some sales of swimwear," he said.

Gerard Gavan, sales director of Ossian Retail Group, owner of womens-wear chain Internaaionale, said trading was good, with double-digit like-for-like uplifts on the same week last year. He said better interpretation of trends had helped sales, with print smock tops, vests, T-shirts and bright checked shirts selling well. "Easter was nearer to pay day and people were more inclined to spend," he added.

The buying director of one young fashion multiple said his company had also experienced double-digit like-for-like sales increases. "Better weather helps us rather than the department stores," he said.

The chief executive of one value chain said he had seen double-digit growth. "We've had a very good weekend. A 20%-off Sale also helped to lure shoppers," he said.

However, John Lewis retail operations director Patrick Lewis said it was a mixed weekend for the group. "The end of the Easter break was better than the beginning. When it's very warm, footfall can be lower in a lot of the stores. But seasonal products such as shorts and T-shirts were doing well, so across clothing we were probably just up on last Easter."

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