Councillor Frank Ross: Apple store's a coup for Capital but let's not stop there

The opening of Edinburgh’s first Apple Store at the east end of Princes Street this weekend is great news for the city centre retail offering and the citizens of Edinburgh, writes Councillor Frank Ross in the Edinburgh Evening News.

"While Edinburgh has much to be proud of in terms of some of the world-class retailers we host, such as Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton and Anthropologie, we must ensure we do not rest on our laurels.

"A recent report has highlighted that our high streets are performing well with 39 more stores opening in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2013. This is a very strong performance when compared against the Scottish and UK averages and I am confident that the arrival of the new Apple store will only improve this further. A strong city-centre shopping experience is crucial to Edinburgh’s success which is why the Council, along with Marketing Edinburgh and Essential Edinburgh, invested £1 million over two years in the This is Edinburgh marketing campaign that is aimed at encouraging people from Edinburgh and those within a two-hour drive to come back into the city-centre.

"And if we look further into the future, Edinburgh’s retail offering can only get better. The £1 billion development of the St James Centre by TIAA Henderson coupled with the ambitious plans we recently outlined for the area around Register’s Lane and the extension of the Multrees Walk shopping district will help transform the east end of the city centre. In addition, the new owner of Princes Mall, Catalyst Capital, is investing in this asset, while the £75m redevelopment of 3–8 St Andrew Square will deliver significant new retail space. It should be said that the development of the Business Improvement Districts (BID) across the city is helping to drive this success. Essential Edinburgh has done an excellent job in the Princes Street and George Street areas while Queensferry Ambition and Greater Grassmarket activity is helping to drive footfall. I’m delighted traders in the West End are looking to set up their own BID which I am sure will help drive sales there.Creating the right environment for successful retail is important which is why the Council is trialling a reconfigured George Street for the next 18 months in a bid to make it more pedestrian friendly.

"In addition, we recognise that high-profile events can have a dramatic impact on footfall and sales which is why we invest in high profile events such as Edinburgh’s Christmas.

"The new Apple Store is a welcome addition to Edinburgh and I’m sure it will be a great success. As one of the world’s most valuable brands, it says a lot about Edinburgh that they have chosen to take over this prominent site on Princes Street. The Council will continue to work with our partners across the Capital to promote Edinburgh as a retail-friendly city to ensure other high profile brands and independent outlets open here."

  • Councillor Frank Ross is economy convener for the City of Edinburgh Council
  • Read the original article at the Edinburgh Evening News 

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