Harrods plans £200m store and web revamp
Harrods is planning a major makeover of its Knightsbridge, London flagship with the work being the biggest in its history. It’s spending an overall £200 million on the store and its website in order to widen its already-strong appeal to high-spending global shoppers.
The store’s interior with its 330 different sections and 1 million sq ft of retail space will be “entirely redeveloped” as a result. The company has already announced several revamps, such as the recent news about its luxury watches space, but it hadn’t been realised until now just how extensive the works would be.
MD Michael Ward told the South China Morning Post that the three-year plan is the most ambitious revamp since the store was founded in the mid-19th century.
The plans also include upgrades to the e-commerce operation so that international shoppers can also access its products from anywhere in the world. “Our Chinese and Asian customers are extremely important to Harrods so are considered part of our redevelopment plans,” Ward said.
The Qatar Holdings-owned retailer’s business is mainly built around the Knightsbridge flagship and with its status as a London landmark still unchallenged by other department stores, its biggest single market is, understandably the UK. But a huge percentage of its UK sales are to foreign visitors and wider sales to international shoppers are rising through its travel retail and e-tail ops.
In fact, its biggest growth at present is to international customers, Ward added, with China and Hong Kong seeing good growth.
In addition to the physical works in-store, the company will also target consumers in these countries through investment in its Weibo and WeChat accounts, which are two of the leading social media platforms in China. It will add WeChat pay next year after adding Alipay in 2016.
But Ward would not commit in the interview to whether Harrods would open a storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall, a website that has seen a number of luxury stores opening in recent periods.
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