Edinburgh’s weather: Retailers cash in on heatwave

Victoria Johnstone and Lyndsey Davidson 'enjoy the sunshine in St Andrew Square. Picture: Toby Williams
Victoria Johnstone and Lyndsey Davidson 'enjoy the sunshine in St Andrew Square. Picture: Toby Williams
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SOARING temperatures and eager sun-worshippers are being credited with a boost to the local economy, with traders reporting sizzling sales figures for beach products better aligned to San Tropez than Saughton Mains.

Barbecues, ice cream and electronic fans are flying off the shelves as the city basks in sunshine that saw the mercury hit a balmy 28 degrees.

Sales of portable air conditioners have rocketed by more than 2500 per cent at John Lewis Edinburgh, with the department store breaking all previous records in demand for sun cream.

But while shoppers are queuing up for deckchairs and barbecues – a two and three-fold respective increase on last year – the trade in beauty treatments and luxury ice creams is going through the roof.

Renowned ice cream firm S Luca, with outlets in Morningside and Musselburgh, said it was experiencing the busiest July ever with customers queuing out the door for frozen snacks.

Company director Yolanda Luca said the sun-kissed fortnight had brought a boon to sales.

“We are seriously not used to this and have more than doubled production from last year,” she said. “We have had to put on a backshift to make more ice cream. It’s been unbelievable with queues out the door and it’s been continual.”

As sun-seekers have been flooding parks and beaches to soak up the rays, body-conscious residents have been topping up their tan before exposing themselves in public.

Spray tan sales up

Rozannah Burnett, senior therapist at Edinburgh Beauty Quarter, said demand for spray tans had pushed its three therapists to breaking point. “The phone has been ringing off the hook,” she said. “On average we do about two spray tans per day but since the weather has improved we are doing between 10 and 12 – we hardly ever have any availability. It’s been choc-a-block for spray tans and pedicures.”

Even the city’s property market has been lifted by the warmth, with Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) announcing a boost in viewings.

Barry Blamire, managing director at John Lewis Edinburgh, said: “Customers in Edinburgh are stocking up on summer essentials to help them make the most of the heatwave.

“Ice cream makers, wine coolers and picnic ware sales have flourished, with the Orla Kiely range proving popular as many customers plan garden parties to coincide with the Open golf tournament.

“In beauty, we’ve seen an increase in the sales of BB creams since they have a high SPF factor built in and our recently expanded range of designer sunglasses have also seen an increase in sales.

Neil Harrison, head of marketing at ESPC, said: “We tend to see an uplift in activity based on weather, and anecdotally this has been the case over the last few weeks.

Retail footfall up 7%

Essential Edinburgh, which represents 600 businesses in the city centre, has announced a seven per cent spike in footfall compared with last year.

David Birrell, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “There is no doubt that the feel-good factor of the ongoing summer weather is having a positive impact on certain sections of Edinburgh’s business community.

“The obvious winners are the likes of the hospitality sector, with bars and restaurants enjoying a boom in business. Then there are tourist attractions like the zoo which always see a boost in visitor numbers when the sun shines.”

A berry popular day out

The number of visitors to pick-your-own fruit farms across Lothian have seen a huge surge thanks to a sundrenched July.

In what was forecast to be a ten-day heatwave, farms have been making hay while the sun shines, with Belhaven Fruit Farm near Dunbar experiencing its best ever year.

Budding fruit-pickers heading to the East Lothian farm to bag their own soft fruits are in luck, with the warmth encouraging extra strawberries to satisfy the flocks of pickers.

“We’ve had a bumper crop of strawberries due to the good weather – we’ve even opened a new tunnel” said Mark Rennie of Belhaven.