Jenners in Edinburgh is to close for good with the loss of 200 jobs.
In a statement, Jenners’ owner Frasers Group confirmed it would cease trading on May 3.
Jenners – one of the most famous names in Scottish retail – has been trading from the multi-storey Princes Street location for 183 years.
The closure is the result of failing to reach an agreement with the owners to continue in the building.
Vacant site and no plans
A Frasers spokesman said: “Despite the global pandemic, numerous lockdowns and the turbulence caused for British retail, the landlord hasn’t been able to work mutually on a fair agreement, therefore resulting in the loss of 200 jobs and a vacant site for the foreseeable future, with no immediate plans.
“Our commitment to our Frasers strategy remains but landlords and retailers need to work together in a fair manner, especially when all stores are closed.”
The building is owned by Danish billionaire Anders Polvsen who bought the building for a reported £50 million in 2017.
Hopes to create a hotel?
It is understood he is seeking to renovate the building and convert it to a hotel, with cafes and rooftop restaurant and a number of luxury shops linked to his clothing empire Bestseller.
He is the largest shareholder in online clothing firm Asos and has a fortune approaching £5 billion.
Mr Polvsen has 221,000 acres of the Highlands, acquired through his company Wildland, a conservation project.
Among the assets is the 500-acre Aldourie Castle estate, the only habitable castle on Loch Ness.
It is the second blow to Princes Street in one day. Its Debenhams will also close after the brand was purchased from administration by online firm Boohoo.
It will not acquire its stores or workforce as part of the deal.
Exercise break option
Anders Krogh Vogdrup, director at Bestsellers, the company owned by Anders Polvsen, said: “We can confirm that Frasers Group has notified us that they will be exercising their break option, and so will be leaving the Jenners building.
“We have endeavoured to work with tenants during the pandemic and resulting lockdowns; offering rent-free periods, deferrals and payment plans, and encouraging our tenants to utilise Government-funded schemes to save costs and protect jobs.
“Despite the substantial rent reduction already granted to Frasers and rent-free periods to cover all lockdowns, Frasers has made the decision that it does not wish to continue in occupation.
“This will see the end of the 16-year association between House of Fraser and this building, but not of the 180 years of Jenners department store.
“We are in talks with retailer operators and are planning a programme of works to ensure that, when safe and able to do so, Jenners will reopen.
“Our primary goal is to see the department store returned it to its former glory; Jenners of Edinburgh is an institution and, despite the changing face of retail, it is our aspiration that Jenners will continue to be a retail store for as long as we are its stewards.”