LONDON — Harrods, the last major department store in London to keep its doors open, has revealed plans to shut today, as the U.K. government heightens measures to contain COVID-19.
In a letter to clients, the retailer’s managing director Michael Ward said the store will be closing as of 7 p.m. U.K. time in Friday, save for its pharmacy and food hall.
“Harrods began its journey as a grocer, and we will continue as a grocer. We take pride in serving our local community during this difficult time by keeping our food halls and pharmacy open to the public, and will continue to provide these essential services and products until we are forced to close,” said Ward, adding that the company will be encouraging customers to shift to the retailer’s e-commerce and social channels to shop the rest of its departments.
Ward also added a more optimistic note, citing the many challenges the department store has overcome throughout its 170-year-old history, from World War II to the I.R.A. bomb attacks of the Eighties.
“Harrods is a symbol of resilience in a changing and often uncertain world, and I know that our values will ensure that we as a business come through this next chapter.”
The length of the closure wasn’t specified.
Earlier this week, Selfridges, Liberty London and Harvey Nichols revealed plans to close, as the U.K. government advises the public to maintain social distancing, work from home and only travel when necessary.
Major brands such as Ralph Lauren and Cartier have also shut their stores temporarily.