Letter from Donald Simpson of Cowiesburn Asset Management in response to the latest Retail Risk Index

By March 28, 2012

Dear Sir 

According to the latest Retail Risk Index compiled by BNP Paribas, which looked at 100 towns and cities in rated Scotland as one of the areas that was least at risk of retail collapse. 

So how is Scotland bucking the general trend? BNP indicate this is partly due to Scotland’s major retail centres being further apart, limiting competition between them for footfall, and also due to a lower instance of large retail developments impacting high streets.  

However, this is not a sign for retailers to be thinking they are out of the woods yet as these results are all relative. Although Edinburgh and Glasgow are holding up well, particularly when it comes to prime retail, the strain is showing in Inverness and even oil rich Aberdeen. 

In Inverness the Eastgate centre has undoubtedly had an in r impact on the High Street with many retailers keen to move in to the centre – a recent example being Topshop who made this move last summer despite being in a prime retail unit on the High Street.  In Aberdeen centres such as the Union Square have had a similar effect on Union Street. 

Smaller towns are even more susceptible to this problem with high streets in towns like Dumbarton showing a very large number of vacancies despite novel marketing moves by landlords and the local council such as the Shopjacket initiative in 2011. 

As some Scottish retailers limber up to beat the downturn, others will be watching every penny pound which is why it’s a timely reminder to the Government to respond to the Portas Review this month of the ongoing challenges facing retailers up and down the country so they can get back on track.


Yours sincerely


Donald Simpson

Founding Partner

Cowiesburn Asset Management

7 Angle Park Terrace


EH11 2JX