|Private limited company|
|Founder||Harry Gordon Selfridge|
|Headquarters||400 Oxford Street, London, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
Oxford Street, London
Trafford Centre, Trafford
Exchange Sq., Manchester
|Alannah Weston, chair of Selfridges Group |
Anne Pitcher, managing director, Selfridges
Anne Pitcher, managing director, Selfridges Group
Linda Hewson, creative director
|Owner||Galen Weston and family|
|Parent||Selfridges & Co. Limited|
Selfridges, also known as Selfridges & Co., is a chain of high-end department stores in the United Kingdom that is operated by Canadian group Selfridges Retail Limited, part of the Selfridges Group of department stores.It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1908.
The flagship store on London's Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods) and opened on 15 March 1909.Other Selfridges stores opened in the Trafford Centre (1998) and Exchange Square (2002) in Manchester, and in the Bullring in Birmingham (2003).
In the 1940s, smaller provincial Selfridges stores were sold to the John Lewis Partnership, and in 1951, the original Oxford Street store was acquired by the Liverpool-based Lewis's chain of department stores.Lewis's and Selfridges were then taken over in 1965 by the Sears Group, owned by Charles Clore. Expanded under the Sears Group to include branches in Manchester and Birmingham, the chain was acquired in 2003 by Canada's Galen Weston for £598 million.
The shop's early history was dramatised in ITV's 2013 series, Mr Selfridge .
The basis of Harry Gordon Selfridge's success was his relentlessly innovative marketing, which was elaborately expressed in his Oxford Street store. Originally from America himself, Selfridge attempted to dismantle the idea that consumerism was strictly an American phenomenon.He tried to make shopping a fun adventure and a form of leisure instead of a chore, transforming the department store into a social and cultural landmark that provided women with a public space in which they could be comfortable and legitimately indulge themselves. Emphasizing the importance of creating a welcoming environment, he placed merchandise on display so customers could examine it, moved the highly profitable perfume counter front-and-centre on the ground floor, and established policies that made it safe and easy for customers to shop. These techniques have been adopted by modern department stores around the world.
Either Selfridge or Marshall Field is popularly held to have coined the phrase "the customer is always right",and Selfridge used it regularly in his advertising.
Selfridge attracted shoppers with educational and scientific exhibits and was himself interested in education and science, believing that the displays would introduce potential new customers to Selfridges and thus generate both immediate and long-term sales.
In 1909, after the first cross-Channel flight, Louis Blériot's monoplane was put on display at Selfridges, where it was seen by 12,000 people. John Logie Baird made the first public demonstration of moving silhouette images by television from the first floor of Selfridges from 1 to 27 April 1925.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the roof of the store hosted terraced gardens, cafes, a mini golf course and an all-girl gun club. The roof, with its extensive views across London, was a common place for strolling after a shopping trip and was often used for fashion shows.[ citation needed ] During the Second World War, The store's basement was used as an air-raid shelter and during raids employees were usually on the lookout for incendiary bombs and took watch in turns.
A Milne-Shaw seismograph was set up on the Oxford Street store's third floor in 1932, attached to one of the building's main stanchions, where it remained unaffected by traffic or shoppers. It successfully recorded the Belgian earthquake of 11 June 1938, which was also felt in London. In 1947, it was given to the British Museum. The huge SIGSALY scrambling apparatus, by which transatlantic conferences between American and British officials (most notably Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt) were secured against eavesdropping, was housed in the basement from 1943 on, with extension to the Cabinet War Rooms about a mile away.
In 1926, Selfridges set up the Selfridge Provincial Stores company, which had expanded over the years to include sixteen provincial stores, but these were sold to the John Lewis Partnership in 1940. The Liverpool-based Lewis's chain of department stores acquired the remaining Oxford Street Shop in 1951, until it was taken over in 1965 by the Sears Group, owned by Charles Clore.Under the Sears group, branches in Ilford and Oxford opened, with the latter remaining Selfridges until 1986, when Sears rebranded it as a Lewis's store. In 1990, Sears Holdings split Selfridges from Lewis's and placed Lewis's in administration a year later. In March 1998, Selfridges acquired its current logo in tandem with the opening of the Manchester Trafford Centre store and Selfridges' demerger from Sears.
In September 1998, Selfridges expanded and opened a department store in the newly-opened Trafford Centre in Greater Manchester. Following its success, Selfridges announced they would open an additional 125,000-square-foot (11,600 m2) store in Exchange Square, Manchester city centre. The Exchange Square store opened in 2002 as Manchester city centre started to return to normal following the 1996 Manchester bombing. A 260,000-square-foot (24,000 m2) store opened in 2003 in Birmingham's Bull Ring.
In 2003, the chain was acquired by Canada's Galen Weston for £598 million and became part of Selfridges Group, which also includes Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland, Holt Renfrew in Canada and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands. Weston, a retailing expert who is also the owner of major supermarket chains in Canada, has chosen to invest in the renovation of the Oxford Street store – rather than to create new stores in British cities other than Manchester and Birmingham. [ citation needed ]Simon Forster is the Managing Director of Selfridges, while Anne Pitcher is the Managing Director of Selfridges Group.
In October 2009, Selfridges revived its rooftop entertainment with the opening of "The Restaurant on the Roof".[ clarification needed ] In July 2011, Truvia created an emerald green boating lake (with a waterfall, a boat-up cocktail bar and a forest of Stevia plants).[ clarification needed ] In 2012 the Big Rooftop Tea and Golf Party featured "the highest afternoon tea on Oxford Street" and a nine-hole golf course with "the seven wonders of London" realised in cake as obstacles.
In August 2020, during a difficult time for UK retail, Selfridges offered luxury pieces for hire to millennial and socially conscious clients. The store partnered with HURR, an online fashion rental platform, offering hire of 100 items from over 40 fashion brands for up to 20 days at a time.
Selfridge stores are known for architectural innovation and excellence, and are tourist destinations in their own right. [ citation needed ] The original London store was designed by Daniel Burnham, who also created the Marshall Field's main store in his home town of Chicago. Burnham was the leading American department store designer of the time and had works in Boston (Filenes's), New York (Gimbel's, Wanamaker's), and Philadelphia (Wanamaker's, his magnum opus).
The London store was built in phases. The first phase consisted of only the nine-and-a-half bays closest to the Duke Street corner, and is an example of one of the earliest uses of steel cage frame construction for this type of building in London. This circumstance, according to the report of a contemporary London correspondent from the Chicago Tribune , was largely responsible for making possible the eventual widespread use of Chicago’s steel frame cage construction system in the United Kingdom. “Under the pressure of [Mr. Selfridge] and the interests allied with him, the councilors admitted the soundness of American building methods and framed a bill which will be pressed at once in parliament [sic] to permit these methods to be used here.”. A scheme to erect a massive tower above the store was never carried out.
Also involved in the design of the store were American architect Francis Swales, who worked on decorative details, and British architects R. Frank Atkinson and Thomas Smith Tait. The distinctive polychrome sculpture above the Oxford Street entrance is the work of British sculptor Gilbert Bayes.
The Daily Telegraph named Selfridges in London the world's best department store in 2010.
The Trafford store is noted for its use of stone and marble and for the exterior which strikingly resembles the London store. Each of the five floors of the Exchange Square store in central Manchester was designed by a different architect and has its own look and feel. In December 2009, store officials announced that the store will undergo a £40 million renovation to give it a more iconic look that has been associated with Selfridges. It has been announced the store will feature art installations using LED lighting that will be projected to the outside of the building at night.[ citation needed ]
The Birmingham store, designed by architects Future Systems, is covered in 15,000 spun aluminium discs on a background of Yves Klein Blue.Since it opened in 2003, the Birmingham store has been named every year by industry magazine Retail Week as one of the 100 stores to visit in the world. The building is also included as a desktop background in the Architecture theme in Windows 7.
Selfridges' windows have become synonymous also with the brand, and to a certain degree have become as famous as the company and Oxford Street location itself. Selfridges has a history of bold art initiatives when it comes to the window designs. Selfridge himself likened the act of shopping to the act of attending the theater and encouraged his customers to make this connection as well by covering his show windows with silk curtains before dramatically unveiling the displays on opening day.Just as they do today, the window designs served as the opening act of the entire play of the Selfridge experience and helped capture the public’s attention to transform customers into true shoppers. Later, when the building was undergoing restoration, the scaffolding was shrouded with a giant photograph of stars such as Sir Elton John by Sam Taylor-Wood. The windows consistently attract tourists, designers and fashionistas alike to marvel at the current designs and styling and fashion trends.
Since 2002, the windows have been photographed by London photographer Andrew Meredith and published in magazines such as Vogue , Dwell , Icon , Frame , Creative Review , Hungarian Stylus Magazine, Design Week , Harper's Bazaar , The New York Times , WGSN as well as many worldwide media outlets, including the world wide press, journals, blogs and published books.
The long lasting influence that Harry Selfridge would have on shopping and department stores became immediately clear with Selfridges' opening day. The store’s opening to much fanfare on 15 March 1909 laid the foundation for the success of the entire lifestyle that Selfridge aimed to promote. Even before the unveiling of the window displays, innovative marketing techniques set up the momentous occasion and the store for great success.
Harry Selfridge developed close relationships with the media to ensure that his store and its opening were properly publicized.The opening week ad campaign relied mainly on unpaid promotions in the form of news articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. As time progressed, Selfridge took the more traditional form of marketing by writing daily columns under the pen name Callisthenes. Overall, however, one of the most effective marketing tools proved to be the opening week cartoons focusing on the grand event. Selfridge enlisted the help of thirty-eight of London’s top illustrators to draw hundreds of full page, half page, and quarter page advertisements for eighteen newspapers. This innovative combination of direct advertisements and newspaper publicities proved to be quite effective at drawing the crowds to the store.
The marketing continued on opening day itself. Touted as “London’s Greatest Store,” Selfridges immediately became a cultural and social phenomenon. From the store's soft lighting to the general absence of price tags to live music from string quartets, every detail of the opening was purposeful to draw people into the entire shopping experience and make each shopper feel unique.At Selfridges, shoppers entered another world in which they became "guests," as the store referred to them, and could purchase unique items that differed from the material goods sold in other stores. The successes of the marketing campaign and the store’s opening day highlight that Selfridges sold an entire lifestyle, not just an impressive array of material products.
ITV and Masterpiece produced a series entitled Mr Selfridge , first airing on ITV beginning in January 2013 (in ten parts), and later on PBS starting on 30 March 2013 (in eight parts).ITV began airing ten additional episodes in January 2014. The fourth series began in 2016 with the first episode airing on 8 January 2016.
Selfridges was also featured in the 2017 movie Wonder Woman as the shop where Steve Trevor takes Diana Prince to give her a more contemporary appearance to blend in.
Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors, and as of 2012 had approximately 300 shops. It is designated as part of the A40, a major road between London and Fishguard, though it is not signed as such, and traffic is regularly restricted to buses and taxis.
A department store is a retail establishment offering a wide range of consumer goods in different areas of the store, each area ("department") specializing in a product category. In modern major cities, the department store made a dramatic appearance in the middle of the 19th century, and permanently reshaped shopping habits, and the definition of service and luxury. Similar developments were under way in each of London, in Paris and in New York (Stewart's).
The John Lewis Partnership plc (JLP) is a British company which operates John Lewis & Partners department stores, Waitrose & Partners supermarkets, its banking and financial services, and other retail-related activities. The company is owned by a trust on behalf of all its employees — known as Partners – and a bonus, akin to a share of the profit was paid to employees until 2020. JLP group is the third-largest UK non-traded company by sales in the Sunday Times Top Track 100 for 2016. The chain's image is upmarket, and it appeals strongly to middle- and upper-class shoppers. Recently, however, John Lewis has broadened its marketing strategy towards all types of buyers, with the introduction of the 'Value' range to John Lewis and the 'Essential' range to Waitrose, and the expansion of the business.
Waitrose & Partners is a brand of British supermarkets, selling groceries as part of Britain's largest employee-owned retailer, the John Lewis Partnership. Its head offices are located in Bracknell and Victoria, England. Waitrose & Partners has 338 shops across the United Kingdom, including 65 "little Waitrose" convenience shops, and a 5.1% share of the market, making it the eighth-largest retailer of groceries in the UK. They also export products to 52 countries and have locations in the Middle East.
Harry Gordon Selfridge, Sr. was an American-British retail magnate who founded the London-based department store Selfridges. His 20-year leadership of Selfridges led to his becoming one of the most respected and wealthy retail magnates in the United Kingdom. He was known as the 'Earl of Oxford Street'.
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House of Fraser is a British department store group with 47 outlets across the United Kingdom. It was established in Glasgow, Scotland in 1849 as Arthur and Fraser. By 1891, it was known as Fraser & Sons. The company grew steadily during the early 20th century, and after the Second World War, a large number of acquisitions transformed the company into a national chain.
Lewis's was a chain of British department stores that operated from 1856 to 2010. The owners of Lewis's have gone into administration many times over the years, including 1991. The first store, which opened in Liverpool city centre, became the flagship of the chain of stores operating under the Lewis's name. Several stores in the chain were bought in 1991 by the company Owen Owen and continued to operate under the Lewis's brand name for several years, but after the closure of the Manchester store in 2002, only the original Liverpool store continued to trade under the Lewis's name. This store was sold in 2007 to the Vergo Retail Ltd and closed in 2010.
George Henry Lee was a department store located in Liverpool, England, and became part of the John Lewis group.
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Millie's Cookies is a chain of retail bakeries based in the United Kingdom, specializing in cookies, muffins, hot drinks and gifts. It was named after its founder Mario Budwig's grandmother Mildred. The company has stores in the United Kingdom, India, France, Germany, Egypt, Malta, Hong Kong. The company owns more than 90 stores in the United Kingdom.
Miss Selfridge is a nationwide UK high street store which began as the young fashion section of Selfridges department store in London in 1966. Miss Selfridge got its name when Charles Clore, the owner of Selfridges at the time, saw a window display in the Bonwit Teller store in New York City which showed "Miss Bonwit" dresses aimed specifically at teenagers. He later launched it throughout his Lewis's & Selfridges stores throughout the UK.
Krispy Kreme UK is the United Kingdom subsidiary of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, an American company. The UK headquarters are in Camberley, Surrey.
Jack O'Shea's is an international Irish butcher chain located in London and in the European district of Brussels, selling organic fresh meat. The chain was formerly located in Selfridges, but had its contract terminated in 2012 after breaking the store's ethical code on selling foie gras.
Sears plc was a large British-based conglomerate. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It was acquired by Philip Green in 1999.
Selfridges is a Grade II listed retail premises on Oxford Street in London. It was designed by Daniel Burnham for Harry Gordon Selfridge, and opened in 1909. Still the headquarters of Selfridge & Co. department stores, with 540,000 square feet (50,000 m2) of selling space, the store is the second largest retail premises in the UK, half as big as the biggest department store in Europe, Harrods. It was named the world's best department store in 2010, and again in 2012.
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