SUPERMARKET giant Tesco is bidding to open a convenience store in one of the world's most famous shopping thoroughfares.

Edinburgh's Princes Street was once renowned for its upmarket shopping experience led by flagship department store Jenners, but the street has seen a shift in the type of retailers in recent years, with tartan-selling tourist shops and cut-price stores finding their way on to the street.

Councillors at Edinburgh City Council will consider the application by Tesco for the listed building at 140-141 Princes Street that was formerly a branch of Boots.

The firm has applied for planning permission to alter the front doors but insisted any changes would use materials to match the existing masonry.

One retail expert said it would reflect a trend of such superstores seeking a greater city centre presence and would put pressure on smaller independent stores in the nearby west end streets to perform when they have already been hit by tramworks.

Professor Leigh Sparks, of Stirling University, said: "Stores like Tesco and Sainsbury's are very keen to move back into city centres and have been looking for whatever good sites they can find as they come available.

"If you look down Princes Street the number of local shops is very limited because of the costs. A local 'metro' store will compete with other convenience stores in the area with that product mix. They are selling convenience.

"We won't know exactly how the [Tesco)] store will impact on other smaller stores in the west end until it opens.

"The people who use those local shops use them for their distinctiveness."

Tesco has also said it would take away and recycle its waste from the site.

It is understood a Sainsbury's Local store is due to open on Shandwick Place, a few hundred yards from the proposed new Tesco Express.

There is also a Sainsbury's at the east end of Princes Street in St Andrew Square.

Tesco Express has stores in districts including Leith – where there is a Co-op – and Causewayside.

There are two Sainsbury's and two Co-ops in the Stockbridge area.