Future of Edinburgh’s Jenners uncertain amid restoration plans

By guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

  • Jenners could be forced to leave Princes Street amid plans to restore the Edinburgh landmark
  • Jenners is the oldest department store in Edinburgh, operating for more than 180 years
  • It operates as a House of Fraser branch owned by Sport Direct but the building is owned by millionaire Anders Holch Povlsen
Jenners Department Store in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s historic Jenners department store may soon leave its Princes Street location after plans were unveiled to renovate the building.

According to the Edinburgh Evening News, the building’s owner – Danish millionaire Anders Holch Povlsen – has plans to reinvent the historic building with a blueprint that features a hotel, cafes, rooftop restaurant and shops.

Inside Jenners

The plans do not make it clear whether Jenners would remain in the same location, plunging its future into uncertainty.

Jenners – which currently part of the House of Fraser portfolio owned by Sports Direct – has been operating from the same Princes Street location for more than 180 years, making it Edinburgh’s oldest department store and one of the oldest in the UK.

Povlsen’s property development company told The Guardian that he has not reached an agreement with Sports Direct about the future of the Jenners business in the building.

Should it be forced to leave, it could happen as early as next year. There is no indication as to where the department store could relocate as yet.

Polvsen has owned the Jenners building since 2017, when he acquired the 182986sq ft site for a reported GBP 53 million.

Sports Direrct’s full year report earlier this year saw it label House of Fraser’s problems as “nothing short of terminal in nature”, prompting creditors to extend its administration by another year.

As a result, further House of Fraser store closures are expected.

However, Sports Direct is reportedly eyeing somewhere between 15 to 31 House of Fraser stores that could receive millions of pounds of investment over the next five years in order to relaunch it and take it upmarket under the Frasers fascia.

The new Frasers concept is expected to launch next year, and earlier this week Sports Direct confirmed poised it would its name to Frasers Group to reflect its “changing profile and consumer proposition” as it embarked on an “elevation” strategy.