HOLYROOD bosses have reported record sales at the Scottish Parliament shop after it was relocated to a strategic position next to the exit.
Visitors to the £414 million building now leave through slow-moving automatic revolving doors just feet from the shop’s displays of gifts and souvenirs, giving them maximum opportunity to survey the books, mugs, jewellery, chocolates, whisky and other mementoes on offer.
Major attractions around the world have proved the value of advising tourists to “exit through the gift shop”.
And the construction of a £6.5 million security extension as a new entrance to the parliament allowed the remodelling of the layout of the public area and the switch of the shop’s site to a more prominent position.
Now latest figures in a report by Holyrood chief executive Paul Grice have revealed sales increased by 13 per cent following the move, with takings in the run-up to Christmas breaking the £50,000 barrier.
Mr Grice told members of the cross-party Scottish corporate parliamentary body: “The parliament shop, in its new location, enjoyed another successful pre-Christmas sales period, with sales for November and December at £50,371, exceeding the same period last year by 13 per cent.”
The rise in shop revenue comes despite an overall drop in the number of people taking tours of the parliament.
Tour attendees were down to 1567 in November and December – or 40 per cent of the public tour capacity, compared with a 45 per cent uptake in 2012 – although total visitor numbers were up.
The parliament spent £30,000 to relocate the shop to its more lucrative site.
Before the change last autumn, the parliament admitted it had been “operating at around the break-even point”. It was argued at the time that by relocating it close to the new exit, footfall should rise and income for the parliament increase.
Around 400,000 people visit the parliament each year – for business as well as tourism – and there are plans to grow that number, including developing a programme of exhibitions to be held at the parliament.
In September, the 143-metre Great Tapestry of Scotland drew crowds of more than 30,000 during a three-week run, with some queuing for an hour to get in. It is due to return for a longer stay later this year.
And the following month, Holyrood hosted a four-week Andy Warhol exhibition entitled Pop, Power and Politics, seen by 22,500 people.
Overlapping with the Warhol exhibition was another on philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Items on sale in the shop include:
• Hairy Coo key-rings, brooches and magnets: from £4.99
• Velvet scarf featuring a design from the Holyrood building: £45
• Great Tapestry of Scotland book: £9.99
• Scottish Parliament mug £6.50
• Quaich gift set: £35
• Tartan tea towel: £4.50
• Gold & Amethyst Tie Pin: £61