Edinburgh shopping centre contributing £91m to economy

Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh

A report released today by Edinburgh retail and leisure destination Fort Kinnaird has highlighted the significance of the centre’s contribution to the Scottish economy, with one capital retail job in 20 and one job in every 200 now supported by the hub.

The findings show the site directly employs a total of 2,000 people, contributing £53m to Edinburgh’s economy each year (GVA), with a GVA contribution across Scotland totalling £91 million.

The space saw 14 million visits in 2017 and its Recruitment and Skills Centre helped 3,200 people into work over the past 5 years, the report claims.

The report (Assessing Our Contribution – Fort Kinnaird: A Review) found that the positive impact of Fort Kinnaird goes beyond employment and training, with 1p in every £3 in Edinburgh’s economy generated by the centre.

This equates to 1p in every £25 in the Scottish economy. The report also highlighted that £7.2 million of business rates were paid by Fort Kinnaird to the City of Edinburgh Council in 2017, equalling 2 per cent of the Council’s total collected.

The Fort Kinnaird Recruitment and Skills Centre was formed in 2013 with the support of parent company British Land in partnership with Capital City Partnership, City of Edinburgh Council (including Business Gateway), Department for Work and Pensions (Jobcentre Plus), East Lothian Council, East Lothian Works, Midlothian Council and Skills Development Scotland.

Participating employers among Fort Kinnaird’s 70 shops and restaurants have included Marks & Spencer, JD Sports, Primark, Odeon, and Fat Face.

Liam Smith, Centre Director at Fort Kinnaird, who was awarded Shopping Centre Manager of the Year at the 2016 and 2017 SCEPTRE Awards for his community work and commitment to Fort Kinnaird’s development, said: “Thousands of people visit Fort Kinnaird every day but few realise the huge contribution the centre makes to local families, the surrounding neighbourhood and the wider Scottish economy.

“Our investment in the community is creating a significant positive impact. We’re particularly proud to have worked with our partners to help more than 3,000 people back into work through the local Recruitment and Skills Centre at Fort Kinnaird, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this year.”

More than 1,200 local people benefited from community and skills initiatives at Fort Kinnaird in 2017, such as the Young Readers Programme with the National Literacy Trust. Fort Kinnaird was one of the first sites to launch British Land’s national all-inclusive skills and employment programme Bright Lights Starting Out in Retail, and all participants so far have secured employment.

Fort Kinnaird has invested more than £159,000 into the community since 2015 through cash contributions, time volunteered by staff and in-kind donations, and more than £99,000 has been raised through fundraising for charitable causes since 2010. Fort Kinnaird is involved in a number of initiatives with the local community and currently supports Thistle Foundation’s Stop the Wait campaign.

The centre provides training to retail staff on how to provide assistance to shoppers with particular needs, such as dementia. To date, 41 team members at Fort Kinnaird have trained as Dementia Friends - a national programme organised and run by Alzheimer Scotland. Fort Kinnaird also offers a Shopmobility service which provides powered scooters and manual wheelchairs to its visitors.

As an environmentally responsible development, 97 per cent of all waste has been diverted from landfill at Fort Kinnaird, with 120 tonnes of waste being recycled or reused since 2015.

Fort Kinnaird has plans for further investment and development in coming years.