Selfridges unveils Europe’s FAO Schwarz flagship destination

LONDON — Selfridges had a good Christmas, with a 5 percent gain in sales across all its channels.

Toys, vegan food and beauty seemed to have outpaced fashion. According to the company, those were some of the fastest-growing categories with toy sales rising 31 percent over the festive period, following the 22,000-square-foot FAO Schwarz toy destination opened in its Oxford Street flagship last October, well ahead of Christmas. 

“Although growth may have come from a low base, the category’s performance demonstrates that despite consumer concerns around plastic use and other retailers struggling to drive growth, toys are still wanted,” said Sofie Willmott, lead retail analyst at the data and analytics company GlobalData.

Sales of vegan foods were up 96 percent, while beauty sales saw a 10 percent uptick boosted by the addition of a new beauty concierge.

Sales of men’s fashion were also up 11 percent compared to last year, following the opening of a new designer streetwear room.

The retailer also pointed to its commitment to experiences — from piano lessons with Santa and walk-in snow globes and choral performances — as a key factor in its ability to deliver a strong performance.

“We always aim to offer a great selection of exclusive products and extraordinary customer experiences, and this year has been no exception,” said Simon Forster, managing director at Selfridges. “Twenty twenty marks the start of a vital new decade in the race to secure a sustainable future. As a business with sustainability at its heart, Selfridges will be gearing up toward a major new campaign that will set the direction for the next 10 years of our journey,” he added.

According to analysts, experiences and sustainability will remain at the top of the agenda for 2020, putting Selfridges in pole position in the U.K. retail scene: “Selfridges’ ability to continually innovate to deliver exciting experiences, along with its focus on sustainability which is clearly a vital theme in the retail world in reaction to consumers’ changing mind-sets, makes it a threat for many retailers across sectors, and we expect the department store player to continue to outperform in 2020,” said Willmott.

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