Selfridges’ £300m investment into its Oxford Street store will develop the business for “the next 100 years”, according to managing director Anne Pitcher.
As reported by Drapers this weekend, the investment is being used to create an accessories department that Selfridges claims will be the world’s largest.
The cash is being used to expand the overall floor space by around 10%, to 580,000 sq ft. The additional space is largely coming from the relocation of the head office team from the store itself into the neighbouring Nations House building, which Selfridges acquired in 2012. Staff will be able to access the department store through a purpose-built underground tunnel, currently under construction.
The third-floor office will be converted into 45,000 sq ft of retail space that will house the contemporary women’s street department, which is being displaced by the revamped accessories offer.
The accessories space itself will double in size, to 50,000 sq ft, and is set to open in 2016. It will include luxury items such as sunglasses and small leather goods, and will offer handbags by brands such as Charlotte Olympia, Sophie Hulme, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Hermès, Chanel and Céline, as well as high street names.
The ethos of the department will be much the same as Selfridges’ two other major projects, the Shoe Galleries and the Denim Studio – the latter of which features £11,000 bespoke jeans by Paige alongside a range by Primark that starts at £11.
Called “the Duke Street masterplan”, the project will see the current entry bay transformed into “a grand, imposing new entrance”, allowing natural light into four storeys of the store for the first time.
Pitcher told Drapers: “Light is a precious commodity and will provide a very significant change to the customer experience.” She added that the development will “simplify the customer journey” by creating wider walkways, open spaces, and “a clear vision from east to west”.
The whole project is expected to take up to five years. The architect involved has not yet been named.
Pitcher said: “It is a long and complicated piece of work – I don’t think there has been a bigger investment in any department store in the world.”
She declined to go into detail about brands that would be added to the store’s line-up, but said newness would be an important element.
Noting the effect that Crossrail will have on Oxford Street as a whole, Pitcher said the project was “about the next 100 years, not just the next five”.
“It feels very special to be part of a family business that delivers that vision,” she added.