AN INDEPENDENT jeweller recognised as an Edinburgh institution has announced it is to close after 40 years in the Scottish capital.

Alistir Wood Tait said the Rose Street store will close in April and comes as he is due to turn 65 the following month.

Mr Wood Tait said the move comes as the shop, which employs five, reaches its lease end.

He also said he did not want to sell the shop name.

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He said: “I looked at ways of perpetuating it, but it wasn’t to be and I didn’t want to sell the business which would mean selling my name.

“I decided I would be happier just closing it and selling off my stock to my customers.

“So that is 40 years, and in Rose Street 28 years.

“There’s quite a history. I don’t think I ever really expected to retire, it is something that has happened, really because there is a break in the lease and I have to choose whether to take that break, if not I would have to work on for another seven years."

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He said: “There are so few independent jewellers left in Edinburgh, they have all retired or died. Rose Street used to be a bit of a little Hatton Garden in in its own right.

“Part of it is just the difficulties of retail, also the fact that so many shops are now tourist orientated, now coffee shops and that sort of thing, but we’ve always done really well and that was part of the problem.

“I want to get more time to be granddad and I’m getting married this year and all sorts of things.

“A lot of my jewellery friends didn’t believe I would ever retire because I loved it so much.”

He said: “The new St James centre is both a positive and a negative because a lot of the shops down this end of Princes Street are looking at having an additional unit in the St James centre or moving.”

Mr Wood Tait added: “You look back over 40 years and say there’s lots of things that have been brilliant and great but there’s other things that never quite got there, but it is what it is, and time to move on.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”