LONDON — Selfridges’ new owner, Galen Weston, is putting the stops on store rollouts— at least for now.

A Selfridges spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday that stores tentatively planned for the U.K. cities of Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle would not be opened. Instead, Weston plans to redirect the money to Selfridges’ existing units in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

“Selfridges new owners have new, slightly different investment priorities,” said the spokeswoman. “The core strategy remains the same — to make every Selfridges an innovative, dramatic place to shop, but the focus is now to build upon, and update, those stores that already exist.”

Plans in the pipeline include refurbishing the Oxford Street flagship’s food hall, creating a travel department and boosting investment in the homeware department of that store.

“Now that the company is private, rather than public, the priorities are just different,” she added.

While Selfridges had not announced any details regarding the units in Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle, chief executive Peter Williams told shareholders in May that Selfridges was on track to develop future units in those cities.

The planned Glasgow unit, however, will go ahead. “It’s our own freehold, so there are no further costs associated with it,” according to the spokeswoman. As reported, the Glasgow unit will be designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito. The store, scheduled to open in 2007, will boast 200,000 square feet of trading space and offer cosmetics, food, apparel and home furnishings. Total investment in the Glasgow store will be in the region of $144 million.

The spokeswoman added that Weston considers Selfridges part of his international retail portfolio, which includes such stores as Brown Thomas in Ireland and Holt Renfrew in Canada, and that further expansion in the U.K. right now is not a top priority.

In addition, she said Selfridges does not see itself as competing with U.K.-based retailers Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser. “Our main competition isn’t the other department stores. It’s cinemas, restaurants and any place where customers will go to spend their leisure time,” she added.

As reported, Weston spent $1.14 billion to acquire Selfridges, which witnessed a dramatic revival under the management of Vittorio Radice, the former chief executive of the company who left earlier this year to join Marks & Spencer as chief architect of its new home furnishings division. Last month, Selfridges opened a new unit in Birmingham, a $64 million store, that is expected to generate about $126 million within three years. The four-level, 270,000-square-foot Selfridges was designed by Future Systems, the London-based architecture firm famous for its dreamy, whimsical designs, and looks like a spaceship from the outside.

To access this article, click here to subscribe or to log in.

To Read the Full Article
SUBSCRIBE NOW

Tap into our Global Network

Of Industry Leaders and Designers

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus