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Coordinates: 55°57′10″N 3°11′39″W / 55.95278°N 3.19417°W / 55.95278; -3.19417

Jenners Department Store

Jenners was a former 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.[1] It closed in December 2020 and was vacated by House of Fraser in May 2021. The building will eventually be restored.[2]


Jenners department store, Princes Street, Edinburgh, viewed from the gardens opposite (March 2021).
Jenners department store, Princes Street, Edinburgh, viewed from the gardens opposite (March 2021).
Caryatids on the store's rooftop

Jenners was founded as "Kennington & Jenner" in 1838 by Charles Jenner FRSE (1810–1893), a linen draper,[3] 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.[4] 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,[5] and is now a category A listed building.[6]

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.[1] Known as the "Harrods of the North",[7] it has held a Royal Warrant since 1911, and was visited by Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1988.

Sale to House of Fraser[edit]

Jenners' grand hall

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,[citation needed] but a month later it was sold for £46.1 million.[1] While other acquisitions by House of Fraser had been renamed, Jenners kept its identity.[8] 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.[9] In 2008, House of Fraser invested £3 million in improvements to the store.[10] As a result of this, in 2016 the basement toy department was rebranded under the Hamleys name, before being closed in 2019.

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.[11] In 2017 the building was bought by Danish billionaire fashion retailer and landowner in Scotland Anders Holch Povlsen, reportedly for £53 million.[12][13]

In late 2019 it was reported that the business was considering reducing its size or moving from Princes Street.[12]

Department store closure[edit]

In January 2021, it was announced that Jenners was closing and 200 jobs would be lost.[14] The Jenners signage was removed from the Princes Street building on 14 April 2021, reportedly to the surprise of the owners of the building.[15] 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.[16][17] In May 2021, it was announced that the restoration of the building will take four years, and that the store was planned to reopen without the House of Fraser livery once redevelopment had completed.[18]

Proposed hotel conversion[edit]

In June 2022, AAA United, the company owned by Anders Holch Povlsen, was granted planning permission to convert the building to a 96-room hotel. Under the plans, the three-storey central atrium would be retained, as would the Jenners signage. The hotel rooms would occupy the upper floors, with new retail use, restaurants and cafés at the lower levels, and a new roof-top bar.[19]

2023 fire[edit]

Jenners former department store on fire 23 January 2023
Jenners former department store on fire 23 January 2023
Jenners building on fire 23 January 2023. Edinburgh
Jenners building, in Edinburgh's Princes Street, on fire 23 January 2023

On 23 January 2023, a fire broke out at the rear of the empty building. A firefighter, Barry Martin, 38 was killed and 4 others injured, eyewitnesses described smoke pouring out of the basement area of the department store.[20][21][22]


Jenners had two shops in 2020:

The Jenners store in the Loch Lomond Shores outlet in Balloch remains in operation.[23] However is now marked as a dual Frasers and Sports Direct store, all branding from Jenners is practically absent.

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.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Bowers, Simon (22 March 2005), "House of Fraser buys Scotland's oldest department store for £46m", The Guardian, London
  2. ^ "Jenners: No appetite for old retail?". BBC News. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Jenners Edinburgh Department Store".
  5. ^ The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland website
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Harrods of the North enters new era with House of Fraser deal, The Scotsman, 20 March 2005
  8. ^ Morley, Chris (6 January 2006), "Fears for future of Beatties store", Birmingham Mail, Birmingham
  9. ^ Jenners 'ethical' foie gras ban BBC News Friday, 8 June 2007
  10. ^ Ferguson, Brian (25 July 2008), "Landmark store to have £4.5m revamp", The Scotsman, Edinburgh
  11. ^ "Jenners chief pockets £45m from sale". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 24 February 2006.
  12. ^ a b "Jenners set to leave historic Edinburgh site". Metro. London. 28 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Jenners could quit Princes Street after 181 years". BBC News. 26 November 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Jenners department store to close after 183 years trading in Edinburgh". BBC News. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Jenners building owner launches probe after signs removed". BBC News. 15 April 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Sports Direct's Mike Ashley told to reinstate Jenners signs in Edinburgh". BBC News. 22 April 2021. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  17. ^ 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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Jenners building restoration in Edinburgh to take four years". BBC News. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Green light for hotel conversion of former Jenners building". Scottish Construction Now. 16 June 2022. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  20. ^ "Firefighter critically injured in Jenners blaze in Edinburgh". BBC News. 23 January 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  21. ^ "Fire breaks out in former Jenners building in Edinburgh". BBC News. 23 January 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  22. ^ "Firefighter dies after Jenners blaze in Edinburgh". BBC News. 27 January 2023. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  23. ^ "Jenners department store will be back ... but not as we know it". The National.
  24. ^ "Jenners closes Edinburgh and Glasgow airport shops" Archived 27 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine, UK Airport News, 22 April 2007

External links[edit]

Media related to Jenners at Wikimedia Commons

The locked gates of the entrance to Jenners department store (March 2021).
The locked gates of the entrance to Jenners department store, Edinburgh (March 2021).
  • Jenners signage (since removed) as seen from Princes Street gardens (March 2021).
    Jenners signage as seen from Princes Street gardens (March 2021). This was removed on 14 April 2021 without consent and reinstatement ordered on 21 April 2021.
    Official website