‘Johnnie Walker’s Edinburgh plans promise to transform city’s West End’

House of Fraser's chief has hit out against online retailers
House of Fraser's chief has hit out against online retailers
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Johnnie Walker is a familiar name to us in Scotland.

Most of us, however, don’t appreciate just quite how enormous the whisky maker’s profile is around the world. Regularly ranked alongside the likes of Coca-Cola in tables of the world’s leading brands, the pulling power which Johnnie Walker exerts on international visitors is hard to underestimate.

The proposed visitor centre earmarked for the old Frasers store on Princes Street would transform the West End of Edinburgh.

The opening of the £1 billion St James Quarter in 2020 has been a cause of much anxiety at the opposite end of the city centre. The fear is that the arrival of such a major shopping and leisure attraction would suck all the big name traders and restaurants - and with them the vast majority of shoppers - to the city’s east end.

There has been much talk about how the West End could compete against this and the growing tide of Intrnet and out-of-town shopping. Could it develop itself as a niche destination for high-end, specialist shops? Stage more special events? Attract a new theatre or another entertainment venue?

Now we have the likely answer. The Johnnie Walker visitor centre and St James Quarter could be the twin pillars that ensure the whole city centre continues to thrive.