Retail boost

Flannels takes former Bhs store in Princes Street

British Home Stores Bhs
Former Bhs building in Princes Street to be reborn as Flannels

Mike Ashley’s luxury fashion retailer Flannels is taking the former Bhs store in Edinburgh’s Princes Street in a huge boost for the city’s retail offering.

The Frasers brand will occupy the ground and first floors over 24,000sq ft of the building which has been redeveloped after Bhs moved out six years ago.

A 136-room Premier Inn hotel, constructed at the rear and over the upper floors, opened a year ago, while Roxy Ball Room is planning a venue in the basement.

Work to transform the former department store began in 2018 with the demolition of a building fronting Rose Street. Only minor alterations could be made to the existing Princes Street property as it is category B-listed.

The Flannels letting, revealed by CoStar News, has been managed by LaSalle Investment Management, on behalf of the British Coal pension fund and will bring some relief after a number of units closed and some relocated to the new St James Quarter.

ISG Princes Street Hotel
New look: the upper floors are now a hotel

It also comes after Frasers closed its eponymous store at the west end of the street and Jenners at the east end.

The former House of Fraser store is now the Johnnie Walker Experience while the Jenners store is being refurbished by its owner, the Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen.

The Flannels deal is seen by property and retail sources as an indication of Frasers’ continuing faith in Princes Street where it also has outlets for its USC and Sports Direct brands.

It is likely to have been enticed by the rebasing of rents post-pandemic. Prime retail rents on Princes Street have fallen to around £160 per sq ft, in terms of Zone A, after peaking around £250 per sq ft in 2017, according to market sources.

CoStar notes that Flannels is one of the few retailers to have grown its physical retail footprint in recent times. Last year it opened 10 stores and is expected to open a similar number this year.

Cushman & Wakefield and EYCO are leasing agents at 64 Princes Street.

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