​Thriving Waverley Market is in good hands and health - Kevin Buckle

​I’m used to customers chatting to me in the shop about this column, but at the start of this week I had people asking me about some online news they had read claiming that Waverley Market had falling footfall, empty shops and a leaking roof.

Now while there are elements of truth in two out of three of these claims, I read it as a piece of fiction. If nothing else it should be obvious that it was not in the shops’ interests to run down the centre they trade in.

Certainly the roof leaks, as does virtually every shopping centre built in the eighties, but I’ve been there five years now and incidents have decreased substantially. Thankfully Avalanche is now watertight after old pipes above the shop were successfully replaced.

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As for the empty shops, the news website that was so down on the centre had themselves reported the good news that much of the space on the Waverley Steps vacated by Superdry is to be taken by Søstrene Grene the Danish lifestyle brand, with a planned opening before August.

This will then leave a flexible space next to them that will probably be two units but could be three or a single unit depending on the interest that is currently being shown.

The Body Shop opposite is, of course, in administration so there is nothing the centre management can do there until matters are resolved.

Located between two very busy shops in Greggs and Damaged Society, the alternative clothing store, it will certainly be taken once available.

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Kingdom Of Sweets on the other side of Damaged Society were given a short lease, which is now ending and that unit will again give the right sort of business the chance to feed off the footfall that already exists.

On the Waverley Bridge side the empty unit opposite New Look is being fitted out now for Tinderbox and while I have my doubts about how many coffee shops Edinburgh city centre needs, given Avalanche’s proximity I’m just glad it will soon no longer be empty.

Strangest of all though was the claims of falling footfall. Speaking to other shops they too had a successful long bank holiday weekend Friday to Monday.

While footfall peaked a little earlier this year with Easter falling in March, the overall pattern has seen footfall and takings increasing year on year for all the shops I have spoken to, which is why I was confident enough to sign a new five-year lease paying the full rent just last year.

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The food court, of course, has no empty units and has big hitters like McDonald’s and KFC as well as the incredibly popular Rainbow Bubble Tea.

All in all, I can see there being some businesses kicking themselves this Christmas that they missed the chance to be in such a prime location.

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