Aberdeen city centre’s retail offering thrives

Picture: Christopher Furlong
Picture: Christopher Furlong
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THE retail sector in Aberdeen, the buoyant oil capital of Europe, is continuing to thrive in comparison to others parts of the UK, according to a new report.

A new study into Aberdeen’s retail sector has revealed that almost 90 per cent of businesses in the sector are reporting performances either as good or better than other areas of Britain.

And 43 per cent of retailers are predicting growth within the next two years .

The study, by specialists at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce research unit, was commissioned by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired, the marketing group behind a drive to improve the city centre for shoppers.

A spokesman for Aberdeen Inspired said: “The findings of the new study show that retail businesses within the city have largely enjoyed positive trading in the past two years, with 43 per cent revealing an increase in like for like sales and a further 21 per cent reporting no change.

“The survey showed encouraging signs for the future of retail in the city, with more retailers predicting growth in the next two years (43 per cent) than anticipating the downsizing of their business (eight per cent). Around a quarter of respondents said they expect footfall to rise (24 per cent ) and like for like spending to increase.”

Susan Bree, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The primary purpose of the research was to provide vital baseline data for our organisation, which will help to monitor performance and progress.“

“The data is also important to give a clear picture of the retail sector in the city and will be used to help shape projects going forward. It has given us a very detailed understanding of the support retailers need to help ensure Aberdeen remains a vibrant and attractive shopping destination.”

She added: “We have already undertaken a number of projects which dovetail with the needs of the sector and a number of other exciting projects are on the horizon, representing significant investment in areas that our levy payers are telling us are key to their businesses. The survey has expanded our knowledge and given us a tremendous platform to build from.”

Ms Bree said: “It has also given us a tool to compare and contrast Aberdeen with other regions of the UK and what the information collated tells us is that the city continues to do well, with 88 per cent of businesses reporting performance either as good or better than other areas.”

She warned, however: “There is still room for improvement.” Key areas identified by retailers for improvement are parking, the quality of open space and the local business environment, together with public transport and safety.