MORE than 100 shops in the Capital will extend their opening hours in a bid to drive sales and boost footfall in the city centre.
The Alive After Five initiative, which gets under way today, will see more than 120 city centre retailers extending their opening hours until 7pm, from Monday to Friday, throughout August.
The campaign has been introduced by Marketing Edinburgh, Essential Edinburgh and the city council, and will also offer free city-centre parking from 5pm onwards during the Festival, starting from Monday. Among the stores taking part in Alive After Five, which will also create 1500 free on-street parking spaces across the city centre, West End and East End, are Anthropologie, Topshop, H&M, Boots, John Lewis, Multrees Walk and the St James Shopping Centre.
The initiative took place in the city last year, with Hector Russell Kiltmakers among the stores taking part again.
General manager, Sean Proverbs, who has taken the decision to open the shop until 8pm from Monday to Friday, said: “It’s to increase footfall and sales, but also to advertise that we are still open for business because, since the tram works have been taken away, the city council haven’t really publicised that Princes Street is back to normal.”
Meanwhile, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, Lucy Bird, said: “Alive After Five presents a fantastic opportunity to develop the early evening economy further and to keep the heart of the Capital thriving over the summer.”
She added: “This bold initiative demonstrates the commitment from Marketing Edinburgh, Essential Edinburgh and the council to boosting the evening economy – making us an even more popular location for residents and tourists.”
Alive After Five will run from today until September 1, and may be repeated during December for the winter festivals. The lost income from the free parking is expected to be around £55,000, which will be met by the three partners.
Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, the company established to run the city centre Business Improvement District, said: “All of the research shows that visitors want to see the city centre open later. We now have more than 120 businesses taking part, with more signing up every day.”
The initiative is also being supported by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.
The city’s environment leader, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “This is a fantastic initiative and will really add to Edinburgh’s wonderful Festival atmosphere. I hope it will encourage people to spend more time in the city centre to make the most of the excellent range of shops, cafes and restaurants. The free parking should provide a real incentive.”
OPEN ALL HOURS
Some of the stores taking part in Alive After Five:
St James Shopping Centre
Hector Russell Kiltmakers