LONDON – Bigger is proving to be better for Selfridges, which posted an 11.5 percent uptick in 2017-18 revenues to 1.75 billion pounds as it completed a major, multi-year expansion of the accessories hall in its Oxford Street flagship.
The privately-held retailer said that in the fiscal year ended Feb. 3, operating profit rose to a record 181 million pounds, “against a challenging retail backdrop, and continuing major investment across the business, in both its stores and digital platforms.”
The store pointed to the completion of its sprawling accessories space, which takes up 60,000 square feet and makes up one-third of Selfridges’ ground floor and one-tenth of the 600,000-square-foot Oxford Street flagship.
In addition to the Corner Shop, a concept store that has hosted takeovers from brands including the Rolling Stones, Balenciaga, Fendi and Chanel, which is currently hosting its fall/winter 2018 collection there, the accessories space boasts a Japanese flower market and a new entrance on Duke Street with a big space for contemporary art installations.
The store’s new eyewear space inside the accessories hall offers eye exams and the largest selection of merchandise in the U.K. During the past year, the retailer also opened major boutiques, such as Louis Vuitton and Tiffany, at its Birmingham store.
Selfridges added that in fiscal 2017-18 there was strong growth in digital, which was supported by significant investment in its Chinese language transactional website, an android app, and a U.K. and international delivery proposition, through its Selfridges Plus subscription service.
Paul Kelly, managing director Selfridges Group said “significant investment, long-term planning and successful implementation remain the key elements in our drive to remain at the forefront of global luxury retailing.”
The store added that in the current fiscal year it is planning to develop its digital capabilities further, and to complete the four-year long, 300 million pounds capital expenditure program, much of which was spent on the accessories hall overhaul.
Selfridges also plans to construct a new, triple-height entrance on Duke Street that links the historic 1909 building and the 1930s extension.
Anne Pitcher, managing director Selfridges, said the store was happy with the results “despite difficult retail conditions and consumer confidence uncertainties. We continue to challenge ourselves to be daring in all aspects of our global strategy and to present extraordinary destinations for our customers. We are optimistic for further growth in 2018.”
The growth at Selfridges comes against a backdrop of mixed fortunes for U.K. high street retailers as rents climb and Internet sales take a greater bite out of the fashion and luxury spend.
High-end retailers such as Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Harrods are proving far more resilient than chains such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and John Lewis, which are suffering from onerous leases, crippling business taxes, lack of investment and shrinking sales, while profits have been hit by an ingrained culture of discounting.