The Valley Group

CITY FOCUS – Edinburgh

December 13, 2022

In recent years Edinburgh has seen significant investment in transport infrastructure and new retail developments, how is the city looking from retail perspective?

Edinburgh, like many cities, has a had a very challenging 2 years due to the global pandemic.  However, unlike the majority of UK cities, Edinburgh has opened a number of significant new stores, as part of the HUGE St James Quarter shopping mall or in surrounding areas.

Right now the retail tradezone of Edinburgh is in buoyant mood, positivity fueled by the St James Quarter. An expansive and architecturally impressive space, and arguably the most significant city centre retail development of recent years.

The St James Quarter is very much a shopping mall built for the developing physical retail marketplace. The mall is more than just shops, with a high mix of leisure and entertainment included, banks and (most significantly) a luxury ‘W’ hotel, anchoring the development within the iconic central spire.  A premium retail destination, designed to attract tourists and cement Edinburgh’s status as a top retail city.

The previous St James centre was a very tired and dated shopping mall, and the new development has crafted a new retail heart for the city – which is fantastic.

However, taking a look down Princes Street, you will see a once vibrant high street, tainted by a high level of huge empty retail units and of course the once

‘mighty’ Jenners department, now currently empty and going through significant restoration, to bring the Victorian building back to its former glory.

Along Princes Street, the retailers that are continuing to trade, are doing so in quite a tired state, these stores are in need of refurbishment or are coming towards the end of their lease.

The Waverly Shopping Centre, well placed, next to the Balmoral hotel and adjacent to the Waverly Train station, has experienced a significant decline in recent years with many retailers exiting the centre. This centre is struggling to define it’s purpose and fill many of its retail units.

Outside of the main retail tradezone in the city, there are secondary retail destinations such as Ocean Terminal and Fort Kinnaird, not forgetting more traditional stores in the ‘Old Town’.

Following the massive investment and redevelopment that Edinburgh has seen, there are many retail stores that are worthy of praise – over the next few pages we cover the best stores that have made an impact.