Princes Street, Edinburgh


Welcome to the October edition of Essential Trends

The data in this issue relates to September 2016. Encouragingly retail

and hospitality sales are again on the increase; retail sales up a healthy

4.7% and hospitality sales showing a massive increase of 10.3% on last

September. This is even more impressive when you compare the retail sales

figures to Scottish and UK averages of -0.6% and 1.3% respectively.

Unfortunately the good news doesn’t extend to footfall, which is again

showing a decline of 3.4% compared to last year. The year on year figures

do not paint a healthy picture for the city centre, however 2015 was a record

year for footfall in the city centre so yearly comparisons were always going

to be challenging. It has also been a difficult year for consumer confidence

and this in turn can affect footfall. The remainder of the year will continue to

be challenging for both footfall and retail sales but with a packed calendar

of activities for residents and tourists this Christmas and Hogmanay as a

draw, we are hopeful of a positive end to the year.

Roddy Smith

Chief Executive


Footfall Page 3

Sales Monitors Page 11

Parking Page 13

Convention Bureau Page 16

Edinburgh Airport Page 18


Edinburgh footfall index

Edinburgh footfall figures for September 2016 are down by

3.4% compared to September 2015 and also down by 31.8%

compared to August 2016. The UK average also decreased

by 2.4% compared to last year and by 1.6% compared to the

previous month.

Princes Street at Marks & Spencer’s was the busiest spot in the city centre

with 1,098,037 people counted during September 2016, the last month in

which figures are available. This represents a small decrease of 1.7% on

September 2015.

Monthly pedestrian numbers in the city centre follow an annual trend. They

increase to their highest level of the year in August and fall to the lowest

monthly totals during January and February before starting to increase again

over spring and into the summer months.

Footfall on Princess Street decreased by 16.9% from August to September

2016. The tables below show footfall in the city centre and a breakdown by

counter area. The daily information for the previous month is also presented in

the charts.

The UK footfall Index shows a decrease of 1.6% between August and

September 2016, and decreased by 2.4% compared to September 2015.


Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, commenting on

the UK figures said:

“While in itself this isn’t the news that retailers would hope for, taken with other

retail industry data published this month it tells a fascinating story. At the same

time as both footfall and shop prices have fallen year-on-year, retail spending

grew in September by 1.3%. This is a function of the changing face of retail

and the hard work and innovation of British retail businesses that are

responding brilliantly to technological advances and changing consumer






Day and night time pedestrian traffic in the

Essential Edinburgh BID area

In September 2016 annual comparable footfall was down

by 2.1% in the BID area on last year, with footfall in the

core retail period falling by the least.

Compared to last year footfall within

the BID area has shown an overall

decrease in September 2016. This

hides some variation which we can

see by breaking the day down into

three periods: morning; core retail

hours; and evening hours. The most

noticeable change in September

2016 was the 9.4% decrease in the

early morning hours

on last year. The core retail period

fell by 1.3%, and the evening period

decreased by 2.1% on last year.

The chart below shows the change

in footfall over four different three

hour periods. Around nine out of

every ten visitors (88%) in the city

centre are recorded over this 12

hour period.


In the time period after 5pm footfall

very marginally increased by 0.1%

on last year, all other periods this

September had lower footfall than

2015. The after 2pm time period

decreased by 0.6%. The after 11am

time period decreased by 1.8%

compared to last year and the

morning period of 8am to 11am

decreased by 5.5%.

Note: Edinburgh City Centre = month and annual comparison includes

counter locations: FCUK Frederick Street; Jenners Rose Street; M&S Princes

Street; Natwest George Street, Tiso Rose Street, and McDonalds South St

Andrew Street.


Day and night time pedestrian traffic in the

Essential Edinburgh BID area cont...


Sales Monitors for September 2016

Edinburgh retail sales were up 4.7% in September 2016

compared to this month in 2015, performing significantly

better than both their Scottish and UK peers; the Scottish

average fell by 0.6% on a year earlier with UK sales up by


Retailers participating in the Retail

Monitoring Programme reported

these figures for September 2016.

The figures for Edinburgh are based

on a sample of city centre retailers.

The figures for Scotland and the UK

were reported from the BRC-KPMG

Retail Sales Monitor and the BRC

Scottish Retail Sales Monitor.

Hospitality businesses that take part

in the Hospitality Monitoring

Programme reported a solid

increase in sales of 10.3%.

Hospitality businesses especially

noted that tourist numbers are up

and the weaker pound increases

visitors’ purchasing power.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief

executive, British Retail Consortium,

commenting on the UK total sales,

said: “Today’s figures show a return

to sales growth, primarily driven by

stronger food sales which saw their

highest increase since November

2013. On the flipside, sales growth of

non-food items remained sluggish.


“September saw the consumer confidence index restored to levels seen

before the EU referendum in June which did translate into a willingness to

spend on bigger ticket items. However, the monthly outturn continues to

highlight ongoing volatility in retail spending and to reflect longer- term

economic headwinds as retailers begin to seek to mitigate the impact of

higher import costs due to the fall in the value of the pound.”

You are sent this information before publication in Essential Trends

if you agree to participate in the City Centre Monitoring Project. For

more information about how to participate in the Tunover

Monitoring Project please contact Tom Mathar, Research Manager

at LJ Research, who manage this project on our behalf: Tom@ or 0131 623 6217.


Parking Index: data September 2016

Parking is important for businesses in the city centre and

the information below shows the number of times and

length of time each parking bay is used during the

chargeable period. The higher the turnover of paid parking

spaces the more opportunities for shoppers to find a

space. In the New Town there are 959 bays in zones 1A

and 2, which covers the Essential Edinburgh BID area.

It should be noted that the average

daily number of transactions per

bay during trading hours and the

average length of time parked are

derived from transactions at parking

ticket machines, the number of

which varies throughout the year.

The relatively low number of daily

transactions per bay is likely to be

due to the usage of the bays by

holders of resident’s parking


In the New Town over September

2016, the average turnover of

parking spaces per day was 1.7.

This compares to 1.9 in the Old

Town, 1.5 in the West End and 0.8 in

the East End. There are a few

streets were bays have been

suspended or removed which will

have had an impact on revenue.

These are: Little King Street – St

James development; St Andrew

Square (South side) – Footway

reconstruction and other works;

Rutland Street – Footway

reconstruction; and Chambers

Street – Major works.


Parking utilisation

Shoppers looking to park their car are more likely to find a space in the

streets that are less utilised. It is clear that Thistle Street had the highest

levels of utilisation. As noted above a number of temporary closures have

influenced these figures this month. The other streets that are used more

than average for parking include George Street, St Andrew Square, North

Castle Street, and Queen Street.

This table reflects the levels of usage of parking bays during the

times when parking charges are levied (Monday – Saturday 8:30 am

– 5:30pm in areas with lower parking ticket sales and 8:30am –

6:30pm in areas with higher ticket sales.

For real time information on utilisation rates in off-street car parks

follow this link:



Edinburgh’s Conferences

Marketing Edinburgh is the organisation

dedicated to promoting Edinburgh to the world,

and encompasses a Convention Bureau and Film


Business Tourism

Business Tourism is vital to the

economy and delivers significant

financial benefits for the city. It also

positions Edinburgh positively in

key industry sectors, brings global

expertise into the community and

provides a platform for future


Convention Bureau is representing

Edinburgh and our members

at several key trade events over

the next few months. These

opportunities are a valuable way

to meet face to face with existing

and new, international and national

buyers who have the potential to

place conferences into the city. Most

recently Convention Bureau attended

VisitScotland’s Meet in Scotland

and undertook 26 individual

appointments with European and UK


In November Convention Bureau

is hosting 12-15 European and UK

meeting planners at our Destination

Edinburgh Workshop. Held twice

a year our workshop programme

includes one to one appointments

between each buyers and

participating Convention Bureau

members plus site visits to some of

the key meeting and event venues

and hotels within the city.

In December Convention Bureau will

attend the BestCities Global Forum

which provides the opportunity

to meet and present to over 40

international associations. BestCities

is a global alliance of 11 convention

bureaus, of which Edinburgh is one,

which connects clients with eleven

premier meeting destinations and

convention bureaux committed to

delivering exceptional standards.

Since April 2016, Convention Bureau

has secured 54 new conferences

with a combined economic benefit of

£36M. These conferences will bring

just over 29,000 delegates to the city

staying on average 3 to 4 nights. In

September 2016 CE secured 8 new

conferences to the value of £6.7M

bringing just over 3,600 delegates.


Upcoming Conferences

Conferences which will take place during November, December 2016 and

January 2017 have a combined value of over £10.4M and will attract over

6,490 delegates. These include:

Confirmed Conferences

6 - 8 November 2016, Federation of Infection Societies and

Healthcare Infection Society Conference

9 - 12 November 2016, British Association of Cosmetic

Dentistry Annual Conference 2016

14 - 16 November 2016, Biochemical Society Conference


5 - 9 December 2016, DDL27 Drug Delivery to the Lungs

5 - 7 December 2016, Teenage Cancer Trust 9th Intnl

Conference and the 1st Global AYA Cancer Congress

12 - 14 December 2016, 15th International Studying

Leadership Conference 2016

5 - 8 January 2017, Fertility 2017

11 - 13 January 2017, New Directions in Theoretical Physics II





Visit Scotland and Edinburgh Airport

have today said that the Scottish

Government detailing their plans and

timetable on cutting Air Passenger

Duty (APD) will help deliver a

domestic tourism boom.

As reported in the Sunday Post,

Scotland’s leading airport also

said that the details will make

confirmation of a direct route to

China “within touching distance”.

In recent weeks the UK government

has removed the Chinese bilateral

agreement, an arrangement form

a previous era aimed at protecting

flag-carrier airlines. This move

will go some way to maximising

connectivity to this huge and

growing economy to harvest the

enormous opportunities for trade

and tourism.

The next step – one which could

be pivotal in helping to deliver

a vital direct link between China

and Scotland and other long haul

routes – is the Scottish Government

detailing and timetabling their long

promised cut to APD.

Commenting, Edinburgh Airport’s

Chief Executive Gordon Dewar, said:

“We campaigned for Air Passenger

Duty to be devolved and it is now vital

that the Scottish Government detail

how they will deliver their 50 percent

cut as swiftly as possible - to bring

growth for the country’s domestic

tourism industry, generate jobs and

give Scotland a competitive edge

over the rest of the UK.

“I urge all politicians who support

economic growth to back a swift 50

percent cut to APD. The benefits that

this will bring will be transformational

for Scotland’s connectivity and

inbound tourism market.

“People on all incomes use air travel.

An additional £13 short haul or £73

long haul might seem like buttons

for top earners but for a family of

ordinary hard working Scots, or

indeed hard working Polish families

or Chinese-Scots or Pakistani-Scots

- who fly between their two countries

once or twice a year, it can be the

difference of meeting their budget or



“Crucially APD fees are a huge

disincentive for airlines that see

Scotland as having a restrictive tax

regime - this limits the opportunities

of domestic businesses and

hampers global businesses’ trade

and invest here.

“The Scottish Government was

recently unequivocal in its support

for one London airport over another

– now it must use the powers

that it has to show that it is totally

committed to backing the growth

of Scottish Airports and inbound


Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive

of VisitScotland, said:

“Scottish tourism punches above

its weight on the world stage and

we need to leverage this reputation

to bring new investment, new

events, new airlines and new

visitors. Decreases in APD would

make Scotland one of the most

competitive destinations in the world

and bring a further boost to visitor

numbers, in particular to our key

long-haul markets, at a time when

international visitor spend is reaching

record levels.”

Cutting APD and not increasing emissions is ‘manageable’ says Climate

Change Committee

Projected passenger growth at Scottish airports with APD cut http://www.

More on EDI - China:


Gordon Robertson, Director of Communications 07785 372961 or



To contact Essential Edinburgh:

139 George Street

Edinburgh, EH2 4JY

t: +44 (0) 131 220 8580



© Essential Edinburgh .

To contact the City of Edinburgh Council

t: +44 (0) 131 200 2000


Similar magazines