The St James Centre will remain open until after Christmas as developers aiming to transform the site into a modern shopping mecca hit a procedural snag.
An inquiry into tenants being forced to quit the complex was due to take place in June, but has been pushed back until September.
Planned demolition of the centre to make way for a £850 million new development will now not take place this year, despite being slated for autumn.
Shops will remain open through the busy Christmas and January sales period.
Martin Perry, development director for TH Real Estate, said: “We have been working hard behind the scenes to progress the redevelopment of Edinburgh St James, however because of a change to timings related to the compulsory purchase order public inquiry the centre will remain open until early 2016 and not September as planned.
“The compulsory purchase order public inquiry, which must be held before we can proceed with the redevelopment, was anticipated to be held in June, but we have been advised by the Scottish Government Office that it is expected to be moved to September.
“Edinburgh St James is one of the largest and most exciting retail-led regeneration projects in the UK. It will create thousands of jobs and reinforce Edinburgh’s prime shopping core, transforming shopping and leisure within the city.
“We are entirely committed to delivering this transformational development and although we are frustrated by this short change to timings, we still intend to carry out enabling works around the centre this year, including the strip out of the offices above the centre.”
The Edinburgh St James development is set to bring some of the world’s top fashion brands to Scotland for the first time, as well as a “ribbon-clad” hotel, luxury apartments, 30 restaurants and a multi-screen cinema.
A city council spokeswoman said: “This is a fantastic new development, which will transform the area at the east end of Princes Street.
“It will create thousands of permanent jobs and will add £25m to the Scottish economy each year.
“The developer is working hard to acquire all affected properties by agreement as well as helping businesses to relocate where they can.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Many parties to the order, including statutory objectors, confirmed at the pre-inquiry meeting that they would be unable to meet standard deadlines for an inquiry in June. The inquiry is expected to take place in September.”