Frasers Group has decided to shut Jenners, the 183-year-old Scottish department store in Edinburgh.
The iconic store, located at its Princes Street site since 1838, will close on May 3 and eliminate 200 jobs following a dispute with the site’s landlord.
The building on Princes Street is owned by Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen through his firm AAA United.
It wasn’t immediately clear what was the key issue in the rent dispute between the parties, although it might have been because Frasers Group has been seeking to pay rent based on sales instead of the traditional fixed model. Frasers was given substantial rent reductions, plus rent-free periods during lockdowns, the BBC reported.
Since August, Mike Ashley, who controls Frasers Group, has been pushing for sales-based rent agreements. And he’s said on a number of occasions that Frasers is prepared to close stores if landlords won’t renegotiate lease terms. That very well could have been what happened with Jenners.
The Guardian reported that AAA United is already in talks with other retailers about taking over the space as a department store. Any new tenant would be unable to use the Jenners name since House of Fraser acquired the operation in 2005.
House of Fraser entered into a company voluntary arrangement in May 2018, and subsequently entered administration on Aug. 10, 2018. That same day, Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct chain acquired the company, and renamed the combined entity Frasers Group.