The new 'Jenners' will need to be something special – John McLellan

A clear sign of the changing face of Princes Street will be the departure of House of Fraser, a fixture since establishing itself in the West End in 1953 when Fraser’s bought the Binn’s department stores and now set to leave for good when its 15-year association with the Jenners building ends in May.
Jenners department store has been a fixture on Princess Street since the 1800s (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Jenners department store has been a fixture on Princess Street since the 1800s (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Jenners department store has been a fixture on Princess Street since the 1800s (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Having closed the West End store in 2018, leaving Princes Street has been on the cards for the Mike Ashley-owned business for some months, but negotiations about moving into the new St James centre fell through and the unit will instead be occupied by upmarket bowling and games operator Lane 7.

The failure of Frasers to reach agreement with the Jenners building owner, Danish retail clothing billionaire Anders Povlsen, lays the foundations for a dispute over the name, with the site set to remain a store and keep the Jenners signage, while Fraser’s retains the right to the trading name.

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And as Rangers supporters know well, Mr Ashley is no stranger to courtroom battles to defend his rights.

It’s unlikely many will mourn the departure of Fraser’s from South St David Street, long a pale imitation of what Jenners used to be, so all retail eyes will be on what Mr Povlsen’s business can do with the Grand Old Lady that Fraser’s couldn’t, and how it both complements and competes with the new St James centre as a leisure shopping destination.

In the face of all-consuming internet shopping and a shiny new mall across the road, it will need to be special.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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