WHEN you think about it, the idea of shops closing at 6pm seems contrary to just about everything else in today’s society.
Shutting-up at the end of the working day – before people have left work and even had the opportunity to go shopping – is archaic in our 24/7 lives.
Following the continental model of bustling city centres alive with shoppers and revellers into the evening is long overdue, which is why today’s move should be welcomed.
Coming a day after we reported on a bid to increase the number of cafes on Edinburgh’s main shopping street, there should be no reason why seven-day-a-week late-night shopping does not become a reality, and soon.
Key will be getting the big retailers on board which, as many have already gone down this road, should not be a problem. There is a critical mass of 60 per cent of businesses needed to make this a success and you would hope far more will see the benefit outweighs the investment in staffing and other costs.
The city centre offering must also be developed to fit.
Creating more cafes and restaurants will do this by encouraging more people to visit in the evening, have a bite to eat and browse the shops while they are there. The lack of a leisure element currently is a real drawback.
As city centre retailers are in a fight for their lives against out of town shopping centres (including 24-hour supermarkets) and the convenience of online shopping, this should be a no-brainer.
Opening later will allow them to regain some ground while at the same time having a dramatic impact on the feel of the city centre at night.
Above all it will send a clear message that Edinburgh is a modern city and open for business.