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How Selfridges is reimagining the department store as retail changes

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Selfridges today showed how it is successfully reimagining the department store at a time of deep change in retail. 

The department store, ranked Top100 in IRUK Top500 research, has focused on experiential retail and on digital as it looks both to give shoppers a reason to come into its stores, and to make their experience a more convenient one. 

Today it reported sales of £1.85bn in the year to February 2019, 6% up on the previous year. Operating profits of £170m were slightly down on the previous year, which the retailer says reflected the level of investment in the business. 

Focus on experiences

In its latest financial year, Selfridges opened a 60,000 sq ft Accessories Hall, billed as the largest destination for luxury accessories in the world in its Oxford Street, London store, along with a men’s designer street room featuring a skate bowl. In November that store is set to become what it says will be the only department store in the world to house a permanent cinema. 

Its Manchester Trafford store features a new beauty hall and an expanded accessories hall, and its in-store restaurants also performed well. 

“In 2019 and beyond, we will strive to remain at the forefront of experiences as we disrupt and reimagine the world of retail, where sustainability and creativity are at its heart,” said Anne Pitcher, managing director of the Selfridges Group.


Digital investment

Selfridges has also invested in its website, an Android app, a Chinese language website and in offering free next or nominated-day delivery and free returns to members of its Selfridges Plus subscription scheme, available for the UK and EU for £10 a year, or around the world for £40 a year.


The retailer has introduced a buying better/inspiring change plan, and has stopped stocking fizzy drinks sold in single-use plastic bottles. It signed the G7 Fashion Pact, which aims to make fashion more sustainable, in July 2019 and will stop selling exotic skins in February 2020. 

“Selfridges is the ultimate British department store,” said Simon Forster, managing director of Selfridges. “We are a global brand investing in our stores and digital to share our customer experience and innovation. Our results demonstrate strong sales and profits and we are confident that the launch of our cinema, toy store and Christmas theme, Future Fantasy, will support further growth through 2019.”

Selfridges, founded in 1909, trades online and through four stores, in London, Birmingham and two in Manchester. The wider Selfridges Group, owned by the Weston family, also includes Holt Renfrew in Canada, de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands and both Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland. 

Image courtesy of Selfridges

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