Selfridges is something of the ultimate one-stop shop for fashionable shoppers. A a small chain of enormous and comprehensive UK department stores, it's what you might get if you crossed Harvey Nichols' fashionista style with the kind of shoppers' encyclopedia of merchandise that Harrods used to be. Plus, all Selfridges stores are in architecturally extraordinary buildings.
What to Buy in Selfridges Department StoresSelfridges emphasizes luxury and designer goods, exotic foodstuffs and top end brands in its UK department stores. It highlights the latest UK and international fashion designers alongside the well established fashion names.
But clothing is just the start. This is the kind of store that is a day trip all by itself, with fashions for men,women and kids, jewelry, toys, housewares, several beauty salons and nail bars, designer furniture, home and lifestyle products, technology and appliances.
At 540,000 sq feet, its flaghip Oxford Street store is one of the largest stores in the world, where you can buy a few pounds of potatoes, see a cutting edge art exhibition or invest in the world's first diamond encrusted Bluetooth headset.
All that and the foodhalls are to die for. With everything from elegant French takeaway, spicy thai and indian dishes, Krispy Kreme donuts, even New York-style corned beef sandwiches (they call it salt beef over here). And of course, if you'd rather cook yourself, you can buy all the ingredients you need in a Selfridges foodhall - fish, meat, poultry, pasta, game, fruit and vegetables, seasonings, you name it.
Surprising Services TooSelfridges Department Store has all the services you might expect in a top department store: personal shoppers, alterations, beauty Salon - actually several hair salons for men and women, plus a nail bar and a skin spa. But a quick whip down their alphabetical list of in-store services reveals:
- Bicycle repairs
- Body piercing and tattoos
- Walk-in Back Rub
- Made to measure jeans
And!Forgot to change money? Not a problem, all Selfridges tills, in all the company's stores accept:
- US Dollars
- Swiss Francs
- Japanese Yen
Where to Find Selfridges Department StoresThis much retailing takes a lot of effort. There are, therefore, only four branches. But any Selfridges is worth a visit - even if all you can afford to do is look around. Find them by clicking on these links:
Leave it to the North Americans......to come up with this over-the-top yet winning mix. Selfridges was founded in 1909 by Wisconsin native, Harry Gordon Selfridge - who trained at Chicago's Marshall Field. For years part of Sears Holdings, another North American company, Selfridges is currently owned by the Weston family of Canada who also own Holt Renfrew and Ireland's Brown Thomas stores.
Miss Selfridge, a spin off of the department store, with branches all over the place, is no longer part of the same company.
Selfridges - The Suffragettes' FavoriteH. Gordon Selfridge founded his store just as the women's suffrage movement was getting into full swing and the Central Line was bringing ladies from the middle class, western suburbs into London. Shopping as a respectable leisure activity for ladies was new. Selfridge supported independent women because he knew that, ultimately, they would be his best customers.
It may seem odd, today, but womanly fashion and feminine dressing was considered important to such suffragettes as the Pankhursts, who frequented Selfridges. H. Gordon Selfridge was an important supporter of the movement. He even refused to press charges when a suffragette broke one of the store's 25 plate glass windows - then the biggest in the world.
To make shopping easier and more pleasant for women, Selfridge opened the first in-store cafes and restaurants and had the first in-store, public ladies rooms. It was all designed to make a day of shopping in the city something a respectable, surburban lady would look forward to.