Scotland business

Jenners could quit Princes Street after 181 years

Jenners department store
Image caption Jenners department store in Edinburgh has been at the site since 1838

Edinburgh's famous Jenners department store could be set to leave its Princes Street home after 181 years.

Plans have been drawn up that would see the store replaced by a hotel and shops.

The building's owner, Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, said the plans would involve an "exciting renovation".

He said he had been unable to agree terms with Jenners, now owned by Sports Direct, on remaining in the building.

Sports Direct has insisted it has not quit the building and it is "business as usual" while the plans to renovate the property are finalised.

The blueprint, revealed by the Edinburgh Evening News, includes plans for a hotel, cafes, rooftop restaurant and luxury shops in the Category-A listed building.

Jenners could move out of the building as early as next year, ending an association with the property which dates back to 1838.

'Exciting restoration'

The building was initially sold in 2005 to private investors after House of Fraser bought the Jenners brand and property.

In 2017, Mr Povlsen bought the building, reportedly for £53m.

The Danish businessman, whose parents set up Scandinavian fashion company Bestseller, is believed to be worth £4.5bn and is one of Scotland's biggest landowners.

His plans would see 10,000 sq m (107,639 sq ft) of the 17,000 sq m (182,986 sq ft) total site turned into a hotel, with the rest reserved for retail.

It is unclear whether the retail space will be used by Jenners or one of Mr Povlsen's fashion brands.

The work will see the restoration of the building's Victorian facade and central atrium, which is a three-storey, top-lit grand saloon.

A rooftop restaurant and bar would overlook nearby St Andrew's Square while a private terrace for the hotel's corner suite would have views of the Mound and Arthur's Seat.

Image copyright Anders Holch Povlsen
Image caption Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen owns the building where Jenners trades.

A spokesman for Mr Povlsen said the project would involve an "exciting restoration" of the "iconic Jenners Building".

He said Jenners could move out the building in 2020/21 after they had been unable to agree on "favourable terms" to stay there.

He said: "If they should end up not wanting to continue, it is unfortunately not our decision."

Project manager Anders Krogh, who has drawn up plans for the redevelopment, said: "Our project is to strengthen the Jenners Building.

"The iconic Jenners Building will always stay and is the very DNA of our plans. "

Since buying the House of Fraser brand in 2018, Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has attempted to cut rents on the group's outlets.

He has previously criticised "greedy landlords" for refusing to change rental agreements.


Jenners: Retail royalty

Jenners has dominated Edinburgh's main shopping thoroughfare since the mid-19th Century.

It was opened in 1838 by local drapers Charles Jenner and Charles Kennington, who found themselves out of work after being sacked for taking a day off to go to the races in Musselburgh.

Initially called Kennington & Jenner, the boutique store proved popular for keeping the people of Edinburgh in fine silks and linen, which could normally only be found in London.

By 1890 the shop had changed name to Charles Jenner & Co and had expanded to adjourning buildings, making it one of the biggest stores in Scotland.

But just two years later fire destroyed the shop and ambitious plans - backed by the local council - were launched for a new look Jenners.

Celebrated architect William Hamilton Beattie, who also designed the Balmoral and Carlton Hotel, was brought in for the redesign.

Charles Jenner died in 1893 before seeing the work completed in 1895.

In 1911 the popular store was given a Royal Warrant.

After struggling in the the 21st Century, the Jenners brand was sold to rivals House of Fraser for £46m in 2005.

In 2018, House of Fraser was bought by Mike Ashley's Sports Direct group.

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