“For some time, it has used unexpected or creative brand activations and collaborations and cultural programming not only to bring people into the store, like a kind of immersive magazine, but also to establish its full authority in understanding the cultural and consumer trends, ”she said. noted.
The department store has also benefited from being a small chain, Ms. Green added. It only has three other stores in Birmingham and Manchester, which allows for more creativity.
Among the latest examples: the Oxford Street store has a space dedicated to second-hand items and another with clothing for rent, both reflecting the company’s sustainability campaign.
“The levers of what drives you to buy something are changing and more and more it’s driven by service and experience or by being part of a community,” said Ms. Green.
Yet the pandemic and other industry-shaking changes have taken their toll. In July 2020, the private company cut 450 employees, or around 14% of its workforce. Since the death in April of Galen Weston, the Canadian billionaire who bought Selfridges in 2003, the chain has reportedly been listed for £ 4 billion for the group’s British and Irish stores.
It has also undoubtedly suffered from the loss of international tourism, which has made only a tentative recovery this year; before the pandemic, international visitors made up 40% of Selfridge buyers. Nationally, Selfridges faces a challenge as Oxford Street in London has become a smaller destination, with foot traffic still down by more than a third and one in five stores permanently closed, the local authority said. .
Even though the past year and a half has been painful for many retailers, the luxury market is expected to recover by the end of 2022 or early 2023, according to a report from Bain & Company. At Selfridges, so-called social spaces, used for restaurants and experiences, are often less profitable than a luxury concession, according to a report from The Business of Fashion. But those features, including a garden center and live music from buskers, have been essential to the channel’s post-containment identity. The London store has an “Experiences Concierge,” which will be extended to regional stores later this year. Instead of gift certificates for products, people can now gift experiences, including skateboarding lessons and going to the movies.