Sheet music and instrument retailer Musicroom says its Rae Macintosh outlet in Edinburgh bucked the wider trend in Scottish high street sales with a strong start during the first quarter of the year.
The West End shop, which includes a small stage and space for music-themed events, posted a 4 per cent rise in turnover between January and April. Across the UK, Musicroom’s 14 stores saw a year-on-year rise of 12 per cent in April alone.
The figures are in contrast to broader high street sales, which have struggled to produce sustained growth in recent months. Latest figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium show a year-on-year decline of 0.3 per cent in May, the best performance since the run-up to the holidays in December.
Musicroom – which has annual sales of £8 million – said part of its success has been driven by an improved and expanded gift range of music-themed ornaments, books and fashion accessories. Sales of these items were up by 128 per cent on a year earlier, and are said to be continuing well as the close of the school year drives sales of thank-you presents for teachers.
The chain also hosts various initiatives throughout the year to drive footfall through its stores by encouraging consumers to pick up an instrument. One example is BBC Radio’s “Get Playing” scheme, which aims to inspire amateur musicians across the UK.
Part of the privately-owned Music Sales Group – which generates annual sales of about £50m – Musicroom’s bricks-and-mortar stores are accompanied by Musicroom.com. Set up in 1995, the website ships to more than 300,000 customers in 100 countries.
Alan Hunt, director of retail at Musicroom, said the stores are backed up by the extensive variety of sheet music, instructional DVDs, instruments and accessories available online.
“We are really pleased with the response from our customers to our latest product ranges and hope this trend continues throughout the year,” Hunt said. “It’s great to see that customers like to use their local high street and are continuing to stay loyal to their own towns and cities.”
Trading in Edinburgh for nearly 170 years, Rae Macintosh became part of Musicroom in 2013, when it moved to its current location in Shandwick Place. Through the years it has welcomed famous musicians from renowned contralto Kathleen Ferrier in the 1940s to The Corries, Susan Boyle and Curtis Stigers.