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A major new research study has identified the overwhelming value of the Night Time Economy (NTE) and Retail Economy sectors to Glasgow.
The study, carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development, reveals that these two sectors contribute a total of £5.46 billion to the economy of Scotland’s largest city. They also generate over 33,000 full-time jobs.
The research, certainly the first of its kind in the case of Glasgow’s NTE, was commissioned by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the City Council.
It will feed into and inform the broader City Centre Strategy – a five year plan developed by these two organisations and others, aimed at ensuring Glasgow remains one of the top city centres and urban tourism destinations in Europe.
The wide-ranging research covers data collated from many sources for the calendar years 2014 and 2015, but also includes recent field interviews with more than 60 companies operating in the two sectors, and with consumers – both local people and national and international visitors.
It shows the NTE generates £2.16 billion per annum for the city, supporting 16,200 full-time jobs, In the case of the retail sector, the city generates more than £3.3 billion and supports 17,000 full-time jobs.
The employment levels together represent over a fifth (21.3%) of the working population of the city centre.
Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre, said: “This is certainly the first time such a study has been carried out for the NTE, which we have defined as activity from 6pm until 6am. It’s also the most recent and detailed look at the retail sector, covering the city’s seven-day operation.
“The sheer scale of the jobs and revenue contribution of retail and the NTE will come as a surprise to many, and something worthy of note for the City Centre Strategy. It’s well-known that Glasgow is a leading retail centre, but again the extent of the figures remains an eye-opener.
“Some interesting new information came to light in the study, for example, while we knew that our restaurants, bars and clubs were major contributors to the NTE, nobody has considered the importance of the growing number of fitness establishments operating within the period of the NTE.
We discovered that there are now more than 20 city centre gyms, the vast majority of which are open 24 hours a day. This tells us there is a growing number of people working in the city centre’s service industries, with working hours that mean they are using gyms in the hours after they finish their shifts.”
Professor Lennon highlighted areas that merit further consideration: “Competitor cities like London and Manchester are actively developing a 24 hour model of operation which is increasingly expected. We have to look hard at our licensing, and transport infrastructure and ask ourselves can we seriously compete?”
For the purposes of the Moffat Centre research, the city centre was defined as the nine districts identified in the City Centre Strategy 2014-2019, but the study was expanded to incorporate areas such as Finnieston and the West End.
He added: “The Finnieston phenomenon has been remarkable. It’s an interesting microcosm of how an offer can quickly become a recognised destination comprising bars and restaurants on the back of the spectacular success of the SSE Hydro.”
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said: “This is an important piece of work for the city centre, and I congratulate John Lennon and the Moffat Centre for the depth of the research. I have no doubt that it will contribute greatly to the understanding of the importance of these two sectors and how they can add to Glasgow’s economic strategy.”
Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This is a very welcome and important study of these vital parts of the city’s economy. The night-time and retail sectors employ almost 34,000 people and contribute nearly £5.5 billion to Glasgow’s economy, and this research helps to illustrate the changing patterns of business in the city centre, Finnieston and the West End. Understanding the contribution and role of these sectors can help the council and partners in our planning now and in the years to come.”
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