Selfridges
Overview
 
Selfridges, AKA Selfridges & Co, is a chain of high end department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

s in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge
Harry Gordon Selfridge
Harry Gordon Selfridge, Sr. was an American-born retail magnate, who founded the British department store Selfridges.-Early years:...

. The flagship store in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's Oxford Street
Oxford Street
Oxford Street is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, United Kingdom. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, as well as its most dense, and currently has approximately 300 shops. The street was formerly part of the London-Oxford road which began at Newgate,...

 is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods
Harrods
Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Brompton Road in Brompton, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air...

) and was opened on 15 March 1909.

More recently, three other stores have been opened; in Trafford
Trafford
The Metropolitan Borough of Trafford is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. It has a population of 211,800, covers , and includes the towns of Altrincham, Partington, Sale, Stretford, and Urmston...

, Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 2.6 million. It encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom and comprises ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the...

 (1998), in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 City Centre's Exchange Square
Exchange Square
Exchange Square can refer to:*Exchange Square , South Africa*Exchange Square *Exchange Square , England*Exchange Square , England...

 (2002) and in the Bullring
Bullring, Birmingham
The Bull Ring is a major commercial area of Birmingham, England. It has been an important feature of Birmingham since the Middle Ages, when its market was first held...

, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 (2003). Until 1990, the store belonged to Liverpool's now-defunct Lewis's
Lewis's
Lewis's was a large department store in Liverpool city centre. It was formerly the flagship of a chain of department stores under the Lewis's name, that operated from 1856 to 1991, when the company went into administration. Several stores in the chain were bought by the company Owen Owen and...

 retail group.
Encyclopedia
Selfridges, AKA Selfridges & Co, is a chain of high end department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

s in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge
Harry Gordon Selfridge
Harry Gordon Selfridge, Sr. was an American-born retail magnate, who founded the British department store Selfridges.-Early years:...

. The flagship store in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's Oxford Street
Oxford Street
Oxford Street is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, United Kingdom. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, as well as its most dense, and currently has approximately 300 shops. The street was formerly part of the London-Oxford road which began at Newgate,...

 is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods
Harrods
Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Brompton Road in Brompton, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air...

) and was opened on 15 March 1909.

More recently, three other stores have been opened; in Trafford
Trafford
The Metropolitan Borough of Trafford is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. It has a population of 211,800, covers , and includes the towns of Altrincham, Partington, Sale, Stretford, and Urmston...

, Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 2.6 million. It encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom and comprises ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the...

 (1998), in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 City Centre's Exchange Square
Exchange Square
Exchange Square can refer to:*Exchange Square , South Africa*Exchange Square *Exchange Square , England*Exchange Square , England...

 (2002) and in the Bullring
Bullring, Birmingham
The Bull Ring is a major commercial area of Birmingham, England. It has been an important feature of Birmingham since the Middle Ages, when its market was first held...

, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 (2003). Until 1990, the store belonged to Liverpool's now-defunct Lewis's
Lewis's
Lewis's was a large department store in Liverpool city centre. It was formerly the flagship of a chain of department stores under the Lewis's name, that operated from 1856 to 1991, when the company went into administration. Several stores in the chain were bought by the company Owen Owen and...

 retail group. Today it belongs to the Weston family.

History

H. Gordon Selfridge was born in 1858 in Ripon, Wisconsin
Ripon, Wisconsin
Ripon is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,828. The City of Ripon's official website claims the city's current population to be 7,701. The city is surrounded by the Town of Ripon....

, and in 1879 joined Field, Leiter and Company (later to become Marshall Field & Company), where he worked for the famous Chicago retailer. 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
Marshall Field
Marshall Field was founder of Marshall Field and Company, the Chicago-based department stores.-Life and career:...

 is popularly held to have coined the phrase "the customer is always right", and he did use it regularly in his extensive advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

.

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-Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 flight, Louis Blériot
Louis Blériot
Louis Charles Joseph Blériot was a French aviator, inventor and engineer. In 1909 he completed the first flight across a large body of water in a heavier-than-air craft, when he crossed the English Channel. For this achievement, he received a prize of £1,000...

's monoplane
Monoplane
A monoplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with one main set of wing surfaces, in contrast to a biplane or triplane. Since the late 1930s it has been the most common form for a fixed wing aircraft.-Types of monoplane:...

 was exhibited at Selfridges, where it was seen by 12,000 people. The first public demonstration of television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 was by John Logie Baird
John Logie Baird
John Logie Baird FRSE was a Scottish engineer and inventor of the world's first practical, publicly demonstrated television system, and also the world's first fully electronic colour television tube...

 from the first floor of Selfridges from 1–27 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 spectacular views across London, was a popular place for strolling after a shopping trip and was often used for fashion shows. During the Second World War the store was bombed in 1940, 1941 and 1944 causing catastrophic damage. After the devastating bombing of the department store in 1940 owner H.Gordon Selfridge vowed never to open the rooftop gardens again.

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 Belgian 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
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

 to another part of the store. In 1947, the seismograph was given to the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

.

The provincial stores were sold to the John Lewis Partnership
John Lewis Partnership
The John Lewis Partnership is an employee-owned UK partnership which operates John Lewis department stores, Waitrose supermarkets and a number of other services...

 in the 1940s. The remaining Oxford Street
Oxford Street
Oxford Street is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, United Kingdom. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, as well as its most dense, and currently has approximately 300 shops. The street was formerly part of the London-Oxford road which began at Newgate,...

 store was acquired in 1951 by the Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

-based Lewis's
Lewis's
Lewis's was a large department store in Liverpool city centre. It was formerly the flagship of a chain of department stores under the Lewis's name, that operated from 1856 to 1991, when the company went into administration. Several stores in the chain were bought by the company Owen Owen and...

 chain of department stores, which was in turn taken over in 1965 by the Sears Group
Sears plc
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 but it was acquired by Sir Philip Green in 1999.-History:...

 owned by Charles Clore
Charles Clore
Sir Charles Clore was a British financier, retail and property magnate and philanthropist.-Career:Charles Clore owned, through Sears Holdings, the British Shoe Corporation and Selfridges department store, as well as investing heavily in property.He owned Jowett Cars Ltd from 1945-1947 where he was...

. Under the Sears group, a branch in Oxford was opened, which remained Selfrdges until 1986, when Sears rebranded it as a Lewis's store. became a branch of Selfridges until 1986, when it was 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 Centre
Trafford Centre
The Trafford Centre is a large indoor shopping centre and leisure complex situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester, close to the Trafford Park industrial estate and approximately 5 miles from Manchester city centre. It is the highest valued shopping centre in the...

 store and Selfridges demerger from Sears.

Between 1998 and 2003, the store supplemented its 540000 square feet (50,167.6 m²) London flagship store with a 150000 square feet (13,935.5 m²) store at the Trafford Centre
Trafford Centre
The Trafford Centre is a large indoor shopping centre and leisure complex situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester, close to the Trafford Park industrial estate and approximately 5 miles from Manchester city centre. It is the highest valued shopping centre in the...

 in Greater Manchester; because of its success a 125000 square feet (11,612.9 m²) store in Exchange Square, Manchester
Exchange Square (Manchester)
Exchange Square is located in the English city of Manchester. The square was heavily redeveloped after the IRA 1996 Manchester bombing. This reconstruction included the moving of two pubs to make room for the new Marks & Spencer store....

 was also opened. A 260000 square feet (24,154.8 m²) store opened in 2003 in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

's Bull Ring.

In 2003, the chain was acquired by Canada's Galen Weston
Galen Weston
Willard Gordon Galen Weston, OC, OOnt , is a Canadian businessman and philanthropist. He is the Chairman and President of George Weston Limited...

 for £598 million. Weston, a retailing expert who is the owner of department store chains such as Holt Renfrew
Holt Renfrew
Holt Renfrew is a chain of high-end Canadian department stores. It is comparable to Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States, and to two other upmarket chains owned by the same family, Britain's Selfridges and Ireland's Brown Thomas...

 and Brown Thomas
Brown Thomas
Brown Thomas & Company Limited is a chain of four Irish department stores, located in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. Owned by Wittington Investments, Brown Thomas is an upmarket chain, akin to Canada's Holt Renfrew chain and Britain's Selfridges stores, which are also controlled by the Weston...

 as well as major supermarket chains in Canada, has chosen to invest in renovation of the Oxford Street
Oxford Street
Oxford Street is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, United Kingdom. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, as well as its most dense, and currently has approximately 300 shops. The street was formerly part of the London-Oxford road which began at Newgate,...

 store, rather than to carry out planned expansion to Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

, Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, and Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, 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 and are tourist destinations in their own right. Their London store was designed by Daniel Burnham
Daniel Burnham
Daniel Hudson Burnham, FAIA was an American architect and urban planner. He was the Director of Works for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities, including Chicago and downtown Washington DC...

, who also crafted Marshall Field's
Marshall Field's
Marshall Field & Company was a department store in Chicago, Illinois that grew to become a major chain before being acquired by Macy's Inc...

 main store in his home town of Chicago. 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 American architect Francis Swales, who worked on decorative details, and British architects R. Frank Atkinson
R. Frank Atkinson
Robert Frank Atkinson was a British architect.-Career:Atkinson was born in Liverpool and began his career as an articled apprentice to John Francis Doyle in the same city. He remained as Doyle's assistant for 6 years after completing his apprenticeship, before opening his own office in Liverpool...

 and Thomas Smith Tait. The distinctive polychrome sculpture above the Oxford Street entrance is the work of British sculptor Gilbert Bayes
Gilbert Bayes
Gilbert William Bayes RA was a British sculptor and medalist.-Career:Born in London into a family of artists, Bayes' lengthy and illustrious career began as a student under Sir George Frampton and Harry Bates, and so became associated with the British New Sculpture movement and its focus on...

. Selfridges in London was named 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 5 floor's of the Exchange Square store in central Manchester was designed by a different architect, giving each floor a contrasting look and feel. In December 2009 it was announced that the store is to undergo a £40 million renovation to give the store a more iconic look that has come to resemble 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. The Birmingham store, designed by architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

s Future Systems
Future Systems
Future Systems was a London-based architectural and design practice, formerly headed by Directors Jan Kaplický and Amanda Levete.Future Systems was founded by Kaplický after working with Denys Lasdun, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, and Richard Rogers...

, is covered in 15,000 spun aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 discs on a background of Yves Klein Blue
International Klein Blue
International Klein Blue is a deep blue hue first mixed by the French artist Yves Klein. IKB's visual impact comes from its heavy reliance on Ultramarine, as well as Klein's often thick and textured application of paint to canvas.- History :...

. Since it opened in 2003, the Birmingham store has been named every year by industry magazine Retail Week
Retail Week
Retail Week is a UK-based news magazine covering the retail industry.Founded in 1988 by financial journalist Patience Wheatcroft and her husband Tony Salter, it is now owned by the business magazine publisher EMAP.The magazine is published every Friday...

 as one of the 100 stores to visit in the world.

Windows

Selfridges windows have become synonymous also with the brand, and to a certain degree have become as famous as the company and Oxford Street
Oxford Street
Oxford Street is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, United Kingdom. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, as well as its most dense, and currently has approximately 300 shops. The street was formerly part of the London-Oxford road which began at Newgate,...

 location itself. Selfridges has a history of bold art initiatives when it comes to the window designs. 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
Sam Taylor-Wood
Samantha "Sam" Taylor-Wood OBE , born Samantha Taylor, is an English filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist. Her directorial feature film debut came in 2009 with Nowhere Boy, a film based on the childhood experiences of The Beatles songwriter and singer John Lennon...

. 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
Vogue (magazine)
Vogue is a fashion and lifestyle magazine that is published monthly in 18 national and one regional edition by Condé Nast.-History:In 1892 Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly publication in the United States. When he died in 1909, Condé Montrose Nast picked up the magazine and slowly began...

, Dwell
Dwell
Dwell means to live in a place, a dwelling. It may also refer to:*In gun accurizing, bullet dwell time, time between cartridge ignition, and the time the bullet leaves the barrel.* Dwell, a leading UK furniture and accessories company...

, Icon, Frame
FRAME (magazine)
FRAME magazine is a magazine devoted to interior design, architecture, product design and exhibition design based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands...

Magazine, Creative Review
Creative Review
Creative Review is a monthly magazine targeted on the commercial arts and design scene. Creative Review has a circulation of around 20,000 readers. In general it focuses content on media originating in United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, showcasing some of the best contemporary...

, Hungarian Stylus Magazine, Design Week
Design Week
Design Week is a UK-based magazine launched in 1986 for the design industry. The publication was first published in October 1986 by Centaur Communications and currently [2011] published by Centaur Media plc...

, Harper's Bazaar
Harper's Bazaar
Harper’s Bazaar is an American fashion magazine, first published in 1867. Harper’s Bazaar is published by Hearst and, as a magazine, considers itself to be the style resource for “women who are the first to buy the best, from casual to couture.”...

, New York Times, WGSN and much more including world wide press, journals, blogs and published books all over the world.

Controversy

Selfridges' has been criticised for continuing to sell foie gras
Foie gras
Foie gras ; French for "fat liver") is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. This fattening is typically achieved through gavage corn, according to French law, though outside of France it is occasionally produced using natural feeding...

, a food product made from the liver of specially fattened ducks and geese. Animal rights and welfare groups, such as PETA
Peta
Peta can refer to:* peta-, an SI prefix denoting a factor of 1015* Peta, Greece, a town in Greece* Peta, the Pāli word for a Preta, or hungry ghost in Buddhism* Peta Wilson, an Australian actress and model* Peta Todd, English glamour model...

, contend that the method of producing foie gras involves the inhumane treatment of animals. But, as of November 2009, with help from Roger Moore
Roger Moore
Sir Roger George Moore KBE , is an English actor, perhaps best known for portraying British secret agent James Bond in seven films from 1973 to 1985. He also portrayed Simon Templar in the long-running British television series The Saint.-Early life:Moore was born in Stockwell, London...

, Selfridge has agreed to remove foie gras from their shelves permanently.
Selfridges' also caused outrage when a window display was revealed, portraying an Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen
Lee Alexander McQueen, CBE was a British fashion designer and couturier best known for his in-depth knowledge of bespoke British tailoring, his tendency to juxtapose strength with fragility in his collections, as well as the emotional power and raw energy of his provocative fashion shows...

garment being "hung from the gallows" months after the designer committed suicide by hanging.

Further reading

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

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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