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Sales jump on 2016

Indie shops see year on year boost from Festival

Potter queue

The Harry Potter shop opened during the Festival and had to cope with queues (photo by Terry Murden)


Independent retailers saw sales during the milestone 70th Edinburgh Festival rise by 6% on last year.

Shops benefited from the record attendances with a sharp rise in sales, according to data from retail point-of-sale software firm Vend shows.

The biggest spending days were the 3 and 26 of August as people flooded into the city for the start of the Festival, and to catch the final acts during the holiday weekend.

Not surprisingly, it was places to eat and drink that saw the biggest jump in spending.

Sales compared to spending in the previous three months show the boost provided by the Festival.

For the month of August sales rose by 61% in drinking places compared to the three previous months, while bakeries saw a 30% increase and limited-service restaurants had a 20% increase.

Gift and novelty stores also saw a boost of 21%, and sporting goods stores by 13%.

Vaughan Rowsell, founder of Vend, said: “It’s great to see punters heading to Edinburgh for more than just the amazing shows in August – they’re also shopping local and clearly enjoying the local bars and hospitality. So if anyone tells you they took it easy while here, well…the data says different.”

Top 5 sales increase by store type,compared to previous three months:

  1. Drinking places: 61%
  2. Bakeries: 30%
  3. Gift, novelty: 21%
  4. Limited-service restaurants: 20%
  5. Sporting goods: 13%

    Three and a half million people passed through Waverley station in August – a 7% increase on 2016. 

    The second weekend of the Edinburgh festivals was the busiest few days of the month, with 384,000 people passing through the station in just three days.

    The ScotRail Alliance increased the number of services to and from Edinburgh during the festivals, including late-night journeys. The number of carriages on trains was also significantly increased. 

    Edinburgh Waverley station manager Juliet Donnachie said:For three and a half million people to have travelled through Waverley during August shows the impact of the festivals.

    “Getting people to and from Edinburgh during the festivals is a massive operation, and our station teams at Waverley and across the network did a great job helping customers travel about hassle free.

    “The festivals are a chance to showcase Edinburgh, and the country, to the world. We are delighted to have played such an important part in making the festivals a success.”

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