Jenners was a well-established department store in Edinburgh, Scotland, situated on Princes Street. It was Scotland's oldest independent department store until the retail business was acquired by House of Fraser in 2005. It closed its doors for the last time in December 2020 at the Scottish Government Covid-19 lockdown and was vacated by House of Fraser in May 2021.
Jenners was founded as "Kennington & Jenner" in 1838 by Charles Jenner FRSE (1810–1893), a linen draper, and Charles Kennington. The store has never left its site on Princes Street, but its original building was destroyed by fire in 1892. In 1893 the Scottish architect William Hamilton Beattie was appointed to design a replacement, which subsequently opened in 1895. At Charles Jenner's insistence the building's facade was decorated with rows of female caryatids "to show symbolically that women are the support of the house". The new store featured many technical innovations such as electric lighting and hydraulic lifts, and is now a category A listed building.
Jenners was run for many years by the Douglas-Miller family, descendants of James Kennedy, who took charge of the store after Charles Jenner retired in 1881. Known as the "Harrods of the North", it has held a Royal Warrant since 1911, and was visited by Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1988. The store made national news in 2007 when it publicly announced that it would stop selling paté de foie gras, following a boycott by the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton.
Sale to House of Fraser
On 16 March 2005 it was announced that the Douglas-Miller family were in advanced negotiations to sell the business to the House of Fraser, at an estimated price of £100–200 million, but a month later it was sold for £46.1 million. While other acquisitions by House of Fraser have been renamed, Jenners has managed to keep its identity. In 2008, House of Fraser invested £3 million in improvements to the store.
The lease of the building remained with the Jenners holding company JPSE Ltd, owned by the Douglas-Miller family. In August 2005 it was sold to Moorcroft Capital Management, owned by Jenners' former chief executive Robbie Douglas-Miller. By 2019 the building was owned by Danish billionaire fashion retailer and landowner in Scotland Anders Holch Povlsen.
In late 2019 it was reported that the business was considering reducing its size or moving from Princes Street.
Department store closure
In January 2021, it was announced that Jenners was closing for good and 200 jobs would be lost. The Jenners signage was removed from the Princes Street building on 14 April 2021, reportedly to the surprise of the owners of the building. Edinburgh City Council issued a Listed Building enforcement notice on 21 April 2021 to Sports Direct Retail, the Mike Ashley company that owns the Frasers Group, to reinstate the Jenners letters on the eastern and southern sides of the department store, as these had been removed without listed building consent. On May 2021, it was announced that the restoration of the building will take four years.
Loch Lomond Shores
The Jenners store in the Loch Lomond Shores outlet in Balloch remains in operation. However is now marked as a dual Frasers and Sports Direct store, all branding from Jenners is practically absent.
Jenners had two shops in 2020:
Jenners previously had stores at Edinburgh Airport and Glasgow International Airport that closed following a decision announced in April 2007. Jenners said that security measures introduced in UK airports following the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot had led to a significant downturn in trade at the shops.
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- "Jenners: No appetite for old retail?". BBC News. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
- Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X.
- "Jenners Edinburgh Department Store". www.edinburgharchitecture.co.uk.
- The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland website
- Historic Environment Scotland. "47-52 (inclusive nos) Princes Street and South St David Street, Jenners Department Store, including Gothic Streetlight (Category A Listed Building) (LB29505)". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
- Harrods of the North enters new era with House of Fraser deal, The Scotsman, 20 March 2005
- Jenners 'ethical' foie gras ban BBC News Friday, 8 June 2007
- Morley, Chris (6 January 2006), "Fears for future of Beatties store", Birmingham Mail, Birmingham
- Ferguson, Brian (25 July 2008), "Landmark store to have £4.5m revamp", The Scotsman, Edinburgh
- "Jenners chief pockets £45m from sale". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 24 February 2006.
- "Jenners set to leave historic Edinburgh site". Metro. London. 28 November 2019.
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- "Jenners building owner launches probe after signs removed". BBC News. 15 April 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
- "Sports Direct's Mike Ashley told to reinstate Jenners signs in Edinburgh". BBC News. 22 April 2021. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
- City of Edinburgh Council (22 April 2021). "Planning – Enforcement Details: 21/00233/ELBB | Unauthorised Removal Of Lettering Depicting Jenners | 47 - 52 Princes Street Edinburgh EH2 2DF". Edinburgh council Planning and Building.
- "Jenners building restoration in Edinburgh to take four years". BBC News. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
- "Jenners department store will be back ... but not as we know it". The National.
- "Jenners closes Edinburgh and Glasgow airport shops" Archived 27 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine, UK Airport News, 22 April 2007
Media related to Jenners at Wikimedia Commons