Economic growth in Scotland is outpacing the rest of the UK, and retailers are witnessing considerably more benign headwinds than counterparts south of the border.
The Bank of Scotland’s purchasing managers index for March, which tracks new work and job creation by the private sector, is predicting a growth rate of 0.5 percent for the first three months of 2011. That could set up growth of 2 percent or more for the whole of the year.
The service sector, including retailing, transport and catering, is growing faster than big industries like manufacturing.
“The strong performance of the service sector is particularly welcome,” said Donald MacRae, Bank of Scotland’s chief economist. “Growth in new orders is translating into rising employment, with the number of new jobs created rising at the fastest pace for more than two years.”
Glasgow is about to embark on a £70 million redevelopment of parts of the city’s main shopping thoroughfare, Buchanan Street. Nick Davis, development director for the project’s master developer Land Securities, says two-thirds of retail space is already pre-let, a situation he describes as “pretty unique”.
Fashion and lingerie retailers Forever 21 and Gap have already announced they will be part of the 185-221 Buchanan Street redevelopment project.
“Buchanan Street is one of the UK’s prime retailing streets, ranked No 2 after Oxford Street,” Davis told The Times. “Its strength is in the offer that Glasgow has in terms of the diversity of retailing. You move through the whole range of value shops, mid-market, to the high end. And you have the restaurants to complement that.”
The 185-221 Buchanan Street development is due to be completed in 2013.