Multrees Walk big names arrive fashionably late
IT was supposed to be Edinburgh's answer to London's Bond Street or the Italian Centre where Glasgow's footballers and their wives go shopping.
Now, five years after opening with a whimper, Multrees Walk is finally about to live up to its star billing.
Three more designer stores are set to open outlets in the upmarket shopping arcade alongside Harvey Nichols.
Luxury shoe shop Kurt Geiger - a favourite of stars including Madonna and Paris Hilton - will open a store in the coming months, it was announced today.
Upmarket lingerie store Bravissimo and designer eyewear shop Oscar and Fitch are in the final stages of negotiations to join them.
Their arrivals will follow that of urban streetwear store Firetrap - best known for its shoes and jeans - which announced earlier this month it was to open a store on Multrees Walk.
Demand for retail space in the pedestrian street - which links the St James Centre with St Andrew Square and Harvey Nichols - has soared in the last year.
The agents for the development are now confident of letting all the remaining units by Christmas.
The growing popularity of the existing stores on the Walk - including Louis Vitton, Calvin Klein, Vidal Sassoon, Emporio Armani and Mulberry - is said to be behind the increased interest.
The long-awaited opening of St Andrew Square Gardens to the public in the spring has also helped.
Steve Spray, spokesman for Multrees Walk, said: "We have had huge interest throughout this year, from more than 20 companies, and we do expect the Walk to be fully let by Christmas.
"The confirmation of first Firetrap and now Kurt Geiger will give things that extra bit of impetus that was needed.
"People can see the amount of work happening in the gardens and it'll be fantastic when that is completed next year."
Multrees Walk was built to coincide with the grand opening of Edinburgh's Harvey Nichols in August 2002. But it lay completely empty for more than six months and struggled to attract big name stores for the first few years. The knock-on effect on the international economy of the 9/11 terror attacks in America was said to have hampered efforts to attract high-profile retailers.
Today, leading retail expert Simon Bashford, of agents Jones Lang LaSalle, said: "The east end of Princes Street and the St Andrew Square area has undergone a major revival since the arrival of Harvey Nichols and the makeover of the bus station.
"With the revamp of St Andrew Square, shoppers will soon be able to walk from George Street, through to The Walk. With the proposed redevelopment of the St James Centre, more retailers will no doubt be considering re-locating to the east end."
Kurt Geiger only has one other store in Scotland - in Glasgow's Buchanan Galleries - although it has a small concession in Jenners' Edinburgh store. Oscar and Fitch was set up in Glasgow two years ago, but the store will be the fledgling firm's first in Scotland, as its striking spectacles have been sold only through opticians up until now.
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