The store was opened by John Arnott as a subsidiary of Arnott, Cannock & Co of Dublin in 1850 in Jamaica Street as a drapery. During 1886 the partnership between Arnott and Cannock was dissolved and Thomas Arnott, half brother of John ran the store under the name of Arnott & Co.
In 1864, the building was acquired from the trustees of the City of Glasgow Bank, expanding the store so by 1874 it was a department store. In 1891 the business was incorporated and by 1906 the store frontage was remodelled. During the 1920s and 30s the Company started to struggle and in 1936, Fraser, Sons & Co Ltd bought the business and created a new Arnott & Co company. Frasers modernised the store with the second and third floor being opened up to showroom space and adding of an elevator. In 1938, it was merged by Frasers with neighbour Robert Simpson & Co, who they had also purchased in 1936, to create Arnott Simpson Ltd. The two stores were reconstructed as one. In 1947, the Company Arnott-Simpsons was liquidated, along with Fraser, Sons & Co and the store became a trading name of the House of Fraser.
Further department stores acquired by House of Fraser were re-branded as Arnott Simpson until the Arnotts trading name was adopted for the majority of the group's stores in Scotland, including the acquired T. Baird & Sons group, and two of the House of Fraser's seven Edinburgh stores (including Patrick Thomson). House of Fraser closed its last remaining Arnotts store, that in Paisley (formerly Robert Cochran & Sons purchased 1964) in January 2004.
- "Company: Arnott, Cannock & Co". House of Fraser Archive @ University of Glasgow. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- "Company=Arnott & Co". House of Fraser Archive @ University of Glasgow. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- "Company:Arnott & Co Ltd". House of Fraser Archive @ University of Glasgow. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- "Company:Arnott & Co". House of Fraser Archive @ University of Glasgow. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- "Company:Robert Simpson & Sons Ltd". House of Fraser @ University of Glasgow. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- "Company:Arnott-Simpson Ltd". House of Fraser @ University of Glasgow. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- Records of Arnott-Simpson Ltd, drapers, Glasgow, Scotland Archived 24 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Scott Graham - ABACUS. "Glasgow City Archives, Planning Department". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- "Arnotts to close with loss of 200 jobs. £16m centre development to include Woolworths". The Herald. 18 December 1993.
- "Hourstons closes in Ayr as last independent department store shuts up shop today". Daily Record. 27 February 2019.
- "Major plans to transform abandoned old shop into flats in Inverness centre approved". The Press and Journal. 26 May 2020.
- "Shopping icons – 50 years ago Dundee city centre was full of legendary shops and crammed with customers". Evening Telegraph. 15 October 2014.
- Terry. L. Price (3 January 2016). Mastering Background to Business. ISBN 978-0333488027.
- "House of Fraser". The Guardian, p.12. 30 July 1964.
- "House of Fraser to quit Highlands". The Scotsman. 1 November 2003.