Infobox Company
company_name = Selfridges & Co
company_type = Private
genre = Department Store
foundation = 1909
founder = Harry Gordon Selfridge
location_city = London
location_country = England
location =
origins =
key_people =
area_served =
industry = Retail
products =
services =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees =
parent =
divisions =
subsid =
owner = Galen Weston
company_slogan =
homepage =
dissolved =
footnotes =

Selfridges is a chain of department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded by American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store in London's Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods) and was opened on 15 March 1909. [ [ Selfridges website] ] As of 2007, there are four stores located in, London (opened 1909), Manchester-Trafford (opened 1998), Manchester-Exchange Square (opened in 2002) and Birmingham-Bullring (opened 2003).


H. Gordon Selfridge was born in 1858 in Ripon, Wisconsin, and in 1879 joined Field, Leiter and Company (later to become Marshall Field & Company), where he worked under the Chicago retailer of the same name. 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 is popularly held to have coined the phrase "the customer is always right", [ [ The customer is always right ] ] and he did use it regularly in his extensive advertising. The phrase, however, predated Selfridge by centuries; he may have assimilated it while purchasing Persian rugs in Mumbai.Fact|date=July 2007

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 flight, Louis Blériot's monoplane was exhibited at Selfridges, where it was seen by 12,000 people. The first public demonstration of television was by John Logie Baird from the first floor of Selfridges from 1-27 April 1925.

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 to another part of the store. In 1947, the seismograph was given to the British Museum.

The provincial stores were sold to the John Lewis Partnership in the 1940s. The remaining Oxford Street store was acquired in 1951 by the Liverpool-based Lewis's chain of department stores, which was in turn taken over in 1965 by the Sears group of Charles Clore. [ [ Selfridges & Co ] ] 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 store and Selfridges demerger from Sears.

Between 1998 and 2003, the store supplemented its convert|540000|sqft|m2|-3|sing=on [ [ Hot Shops: Retail Revamps ] ] London flagship store with a convert|150000|sqft|m2|-3|sing=on store at the Trafford Centre in Manchester; Because of its success in Manchester a convert|125000|sqft|m2|-2|sing=on store in Exchange Square, Manchester was also opened. A convert|260000|sqft|m2|-3|sing=on [ Land Securities - Retail - Birmingham, Bull Ring ] ] store in the Birmingham Bull Ring shopping complex.

In 2003, the chain was acquired by Canada's Galen Weston for £598 million. Weston, a retailing expert who is the owner of Canada's major supermarket chains Loblaws and No Frills among others, has chosen to invest in renovation of the Oxford Street store, rather than to carry out planned expansion to Leeds, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Bristol, and Glasgow, despite Selfridges owning a site in the latter city. [ [ BBC News] ] The Chief Executive is Irish retailer, Paul Kelly. Kelly has worked for the Weston organisation since the mid-eighties.


Selfridge stores are known for architectural excellence. Their London store was designed by Daniel Burnham, who also crafted Marshall Field's 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. [ [ English Heritage: Selfridge's Department Store, Oxford Street, London.] ] A scheme to erect a massive tower above the store was never carried out. [] Also involved in the design of the store were the American architect Francis Swales, who worked on decorative details, and the British architect Frank Atkinson. [Morrison, Kathryn A. "English Shops & Shopping: An Architectural History". Yale 2003. ISBN 0-300-10219-4] The Trafford store is noted for its modern staircase and marble exterior. Each floor of the Exchange Square store were designed by different architects giving each floor its own unique look. The convert|260000|sqft|m2|-3|sing=on Birmingham store, designed by architects Future Systems, is covered in 15,000 spun aluminium discs. The stores are also distinctive for their yellow carrier bags - available in a selection of sizes.

Further reading

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


External links

* [ Selfridges website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Selfridges — in Birmingham Die Kaufhauskette Selfridges hat vier Filialen in Großbritannien, neben dem in der Londoner Oxford Street auch weitere im Exchange und Trafford Centre in Manchester, sowie in Birmingham (Bullring). Allein in der Oxford Street zählt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Selfridges — [Selfridges] a famous ↑department store on ↑Oxford Street, London. It was built by an American, Gordon Selfridge in the ↑art deco style and is one of the oldest and largest ↑department stores in Britain. In recent years new Selfridges stores… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Selfridges — Tienda en Birmingham. Selfridges es una cadena de grandes almacenes del Reino Unido, fundada por el emprendedor norteamericano Harry Gordon Selfridge en 1909, y actualmente la segunda mayor en ese país tras Harrods, focalizada sobre todo en… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Selfridges — Magasin Selfridges à Birmingham Selfridges est une chaine de grands magasins au Royaume Uni. Elle a été créée par un entrepreneur américain, Harry Gordon Selfridge, qui ouvrit un magasin sur Oxford Street à Londres le 15 mars 1909 avec un niveau… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Selfridges —    Gordon Selfridges opened his eponymous department store on Oxford Street in London in 1909. It was acquired by the Sears Group in 1965 and, in 1998, it de merged and listed itself on the London Stock Exchange. In 2004, it was reregistered as a …   Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

  • Selfridges — a famous department store on Oxford Street, London. It is one of the oldest and largest department stores in Britain, and is particularly well known for its food department. * * * …   Universalium

  • Selfridges —  (No apos.) London department store …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Bull Ring, Birmingham — infobox shopping mall shopping mall name = Bullring caption = The interior of the Bullring location = Birmingham, England coordinates = coord|52|28|39.72|N|1|53|39.04|W|type:landmark|display=inline,title opening date = September 4, 2003 developer …   Wikipedia

  • Jan Kaplicky — Jan Kaplický (* 18. April 1937 in Prag, damals Tschechoslowakei; † 14. Januar 2009 in Prag, Tschechien) war ein über die Grenzen seines Heimatlandes hinaus bekannter Architekt, der 1968 ins Vereinigte Königreich emigrierte und dort einen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Future Systems — Le centre des médias de Lord s Cricket Ground, Londres …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.