RESILIENT shoppers are helping the Capital’s stores buck a national trend of falling retail sales, new figures have revealed.
Data from the latest Essential Trends survey shows takings in March were up 5.5 per cent on the same month last year, compared with a drop across Scotland of 0.7 per cent.
Fresh evidence of the city’s economic strength has been hailed by business leaders, who said it was testament to the success of marketing campaigns such as This is Edinburgh.
And they said events including this year’s inaugural Edinburgh Fashion Week had helped further boost the Capital’s appeal to shoppers.
Roddy Smith, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, which manages the city centre’s business improvement district, said: “The retail sales figures so far this year have shown strong growth each month compared to 2014, maintaining the upward trend from last year, strongly ahead of the Scottish averages since January and consistently higher than the UK averages.”
The data suggests shopkeepers are recovering strongly from tram work-related disruption, which saw thoroughfares including Princes Street and Shandwick Place suffer double-digit decreases in footfall.
“Increased sales are great news for our city-centre retailers and a trend that I hope will continue through the coming months,” Mr Smith added.
“It is particularly encouraging that these figures are recorded outwith the traditional tourist season in Edinburgh, indicating that these positive figures have been driven by locals and residents.”
John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh offers such a rich and diverse retail experience, it’s fantastic to see shoppers returning to the Capital and enjoying its wide and diverse selection of local independent, designer and high street shops.”
City chiefs have also welcomed the figures, which they said were due to the success of new business alliances.
Stressing he would do everything possible to strengthen the Capital’s shopping scene, Councillor Frank Ross, economy leader, said: “This is fantastic news and further evidence of Edinburgh’s resilient economy.
“I believe the success is also partly due to our partnership working with Essential Edinburgh and Marketing Edinburgh in delivering the This is Edinburgh campaign to attract residents and visitors back into the city centre.
“It has been extremely successful and when surveyed recently 66.8 per cent of people said they were more likely to come into the city centre than they were at the start of 2014.”