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Selfridges is a chain of high end department stores in the United Kingdommarker. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store in Londonmarker's Oxford Streetmarker is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrodsmarker) and was opened on 15 March 1909. More recently, three other stores have been opened; in Traffordmarker, Greater Manchestermarker (1998), in Manchestermarker City Centre's Exchange Square (2002) and in the Bullringmarker, Birminghammarker (2003).

History

H. Gordon Selfridge was born in 1858 in Ripon, Wisconsinmarker, and in 1879 joined Field, Leiter and Company (later to become Marshall Field & Company), where he worked under the Chicago retailer of the same name. He worked his way up through the firm, married into the prominent Buckingham family, and amassed the fortune with which he built his new London store.

Selfridge's innovative marketing led to his success. He tried to make shopping a fun adventure instead of a chore. He put merchandise on display so customers could examine it, put 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 — techniques that have been adopted by modern department stores the world over.

Either Selfridge or Marshall Field is popularly held to have coined the phrase "the customer is always right", and he did use it regularly in his extensive advertising.


He attracted shoppers with educational and scientific exhibits. He was himself interested in education and science, and believed that the displays would introduce potential new customers to Selfridges, generating both immediate and long-term sales.

In 1909, after the first cross-Channelmarker flight, Louis Blériot's monoplane was exhibited at Selfridges, where it was seen by 12,000 people. The first public demonstration of television was by John Logie Baird from the first floor of Selfridges from 1-27 April 1925.

A Milne-Shaw seismograph was set up on the Selfridge store’s third floor in 1932, attached to one of the building's main stanchions, unaffected by traffic or shoppers. It recorded the Belgianmarker earthquake of 11 June 1938 which was also felt in London. At the outbreak of war, the seismograph was moved from its original site near the Post Office to another part of the store. In 1947, the seismograph was given to the British Museummarker.

The provincial stores were sold to the John Lewis Partnership in the 1940s. The remaining Oxford Streetmarker store was acquired in 1951 by the Liverpoolmarker-based Lewis's chain of department stores, which was in turn taken over in 1965 by the Sears Group owned by Charles Clore. In March 1998 Selfridges had acquired a new logo at use to the present which came in tandem with the opening of the Manchester Trafford Centremarker store and Selfridges demerger from Sears.

Between 1998 and 2003, the store supplemented its London flagship store with a store at the Trafford Centremarker in Greater Manchester; because of its success a store in Exchange Square, Manchestermarker was also opened. A store opened in 2003 in Birminghammarker's Bull Ringmarker shopping complex becoming the chains largest branch outside London.

In 2003, the chain was acquired by Canada's Galen Weston for £598 million. Weston, a retailing expert who is the owner of department store chains such as Holt Renfrew and Brown Thomas as well as major supermarket chains in Canada, has chosen to invest in renovation of the Oxford Streetmarker store, rather than to carry out planned expansion to Leedsmarker, Newcastle Upon Tynemarker, Bristolmarker, and Glasgowmarker, despite Selfridges owning a site in the latter city. The Chief Executive is Irish retailer, Paul Kelly. Kelly has worked for the Weston organisation since the mid-eighties.

Architecture

Selfridge stores are known for architectural excellence. Their London store was designed by Daniel Burnham, who also crafted Marshall Field'smarker main store in his home town of Chicagomarker. The London store was built in phases, the first phase consisting only of the nine-and-a-half bays closest to the Duke Street corner. A scheme to erect a massive tower above the store was never carried out. Also involved in the design of the store were the American architect Francis Swales, who worked on decorative details, and the British architects Frank Atkinson and Thomas Smith Tait.

The Trafford store is noted for its modern staircase and marble exterior. Each floor of the Exchange Square store was designed by a different architect, giving each its own unique look. 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 stores are also distinctive for their yellow carrier bags - available in a selection of sizes.

Controversy

Selfridges' has been criticised for continuing to sell foie gras, a food product made from the liver of specially fattened ducks and geese. Animal rights and welfare groups, such as PETA, contend that the method of producing foie gras involves the inhumane treatment of animals. But, as of November of 2009, with help from Roger Moore, Selfridge has agreed to remove foie gras from their shelves permanently.

Further reading

  • Honeycombe, Gordon. Selfridges, Seventy-Five Years: The Story of the Store 1909-84 London, 1984


Floor Directory

Selfridges London

4th floor 3rd floor 2nd floor 1st floor Ground floor Lower Ground floor
Furniture & Lighting
Beds
Bedlinen
Bathshop
Optician
Toy Shop

Food Garden Cafe
Starbucks
Bathrooms








Women's Contemporary
Women's Casual
Women's Denim
Lingerie & Swimwear
Kids
Women's Hair & Beauty Salon




Womenswear
Superbrands
Women's Shoes
Alterations
Personal Shopping

Obika Mozzarella Bar
Lab Cafe






Men's Designer
Men's Shoes
Men's Contemporary
Men's Accessories
Men's Formal
Men's Underwear
Men's Casual
Men's Street Fashion
Gordon's Cafe







Wonder Room
Fashion Jewellery
Fragrance
Beauty
Pharmacy
Watch Repairs
Women's Accessories
Wines, Spirits & Cigars
Confectionary
Foodhall
Stationery
Women's Street Fashion

The Wonder Bar
Gallery Restaurant
Moet Bar
The Brass Rail















Books
Cookshop & Dining
Customer Services
Christmas Shop
Key Cutting & Engraving
Home Accessories
Music
Luggage
Shoe Repairs
Travel Agent
Ultralounge
Wedding shop
Bureau de Change

Frankie's Bar & Grill















Selfridges Birmingham

4th floor/Level 4 3rd floor/Level 3 2nd floor/Level 2 1st floor/Level 1
Womenswear
Women's Designer
Women's Accessories
Women's Casual
Women's Shoes
Lingerie
Hair Salon

Moet Bar & Gallery Restaurant







Beauty Hall
Menswear
Men's Shoes
Sunglasses


Women's Street Fashion
Men's Street Fashion
Technology

Home
Foodhall
Wineshop
Stationery
Luggage
Kids
Coffee Shop







Selfridges Manchester Exchange Square

3rd floor 2nd floor 1st floor Ground floor Lower Ground floor
Women's Street Fashion
Women's Shoes
Women's Designer
Women's Casual
Women's Contemporary
Women's Shoes
Lingerie & Swimwear

Moet Bar





Men's Spirit
Men's Contemporary
Men's Casual
Men's Formal
Men's Shoes
Men's Underwear
Men's Street Fashion





Beauty
Women's Accessories
Accessories

Technology
Confectionery
Luxury
Foodhall
Illy Cafe
Yo!









Sushi






Selfridges Manchester Trafford

2nd floor/Upper Level 1st floor/Lower Level
Women's Street Fashion
Technology
Home Accessories
Bed & Bath
Books
Luggage
Foodhall
Kids & Babywear
Kids Shoes
Cookshop
Pet Accessories
Stationery
Wine Shop











Men's Designer
Men's Formal
Men's Street Fashion
Men's Shoes
Men's Casual
Women's Designer
Women's Fashion
Women's Denim
Beauty
Swimwear
Lingerie
Jewellery
Luxury Accessories
Accessories
Evening Wear
Hair Salon
















References

External links




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