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Retail By City

EdinburghUnited Kingdom

city rank #98

City Overview

Shopping in Edinburgh city centre is dominated by two main streets; the mainstream Princes Street, which has a single-sided retail frontage on its northern side, and the more fashion conscious and leisure orientated George Street. Edinburgh has a relatively affluent population and high tourist spend, being the UK’s second-largest tourist destination after London.

The city has a broad range of national retailers including mass-market fashion operators and a growing number of aspirational brands and non-fashion retailers often located in historic and interesting period buildings. These high-end occupiers are largely located on both George Street, which runs parallel and to the north of Princes Street, and the modern luxury scheme known as Multrees Walk on St Andrew Square. Hanover, Frederick, and Castle Street provide a link from Princes Street through to George Street and are retail thoroughfares in their own right.

Princes Street is catered for mass market retailers with occupiers including Topshop, New Look, Zara, H&M and Urban Outfitters. The former BHS store remains vacant which creates a void in the main retail pitch.  On George Street, new entrants include Lululemon, Arran Aromatics, East India Tea Co, Bobbi Brown and a number of upsizes and relocations including Fat Face and Joules. Generally occupiers report very strong trade within the city centre and tend to offer aggressive terms in order to remain in occupation towards lease expiry dates.  The level of requirements for the city centre is as high as it has been since pre-recession in 2005/6, which should be considered in the context of an already small supply of shops for a city the size of Edinburgh.

In mid-2016 construction commenced on the redevelopment of the St James Centre (owned by Henderson). The centre closed in 2016 and will reopen in 2021. The new centre will provide 850,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, a cinema, five star hotel accommodation and up to 250 new private residential apartments. It will link Princes Street to Multrees Walk in a series of crescents with a retail and hospitality training academy, as well as flats, restaurants and shops. Edinburgh’s city centre retail offering is reinforced by the out-of-town retail parks and shopping centres on the periphery of the city. These include Fort Kinnaird in the south east (in the top 5 retail parks in Europe), Gyle Shopping Centre to the west, Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre Leith in the north and Cameron Toll to the south east, most of which trade well and offer a variety of stores.

St Andrews Square to the Eastern end of Princes Street has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. It has become an area filled with some of Edinburgh’s top restaurants including Dishoom, Hawksmoor, The Ivy, The Refinery and Tattu.  The Gleneagles Group recently purchased the Former Bank of Scotland headquarters and are currently developing it as a hotel and private  members club.

Things to do



Head for George Street for a wide selection of retailers from Hackett to Hollister. The retail development at Multrees Walk is the place to find luxury goods.


The Castle at evening sunset, Princes St Gardens for fresh air. For history visit the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace and Arthur's Seat.

And be seen


Ondine, Continis, Hawksmoor, Aizle, Six by Nico.


Tiger Lilly for food, drink, and sleep. The Grass Market offers a large selection of venues.

Be Merry

Lulu, the basement club beneath Tiger Lilly.

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