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Selfridges smashes targets abroad

Selfridges’ first steps into online international trading have proved an early success, with the initial phase beating internal forecasts as the retailer looks to expand its reach four-fold.

The department store launched international delivery to 12 key countries in continental Europe on August 28. So far this is “beating the forecast by nearly 1,000%”, said multichannel director Simon Foster.

Although Selfridges declined to specify what the original target had been, a spokesman said it had been “realistic rather than weak”.

The highest spending countries are Sweden, followed by Germany, Ireland, Italy and France. Women’s accessories are the most popular segment, accounting for 34% of overall sales. Women’s fashion is the second most popular category, taking 21% of total sales. Menswear makes up 10%.

Until last month Selfridges only shipped to the UK. However, just over a quarter of traffic to the retailer’s website came from further afield, and more than half of these visitors tried to buy goods online.

The highest demand came from the Middle and Far East, US and Australia, and it is these territories that will be targeted in Selfridges’ second phase, which will see the site open up to a further 40 countries from October.

Foster said there were “very high” expectations for further growth with the launch of the second phase.

“We are delighted to see Selfridges.com doing so well abroad. We will be selling to 55 countries over the next few weeks, and then we’ll be looking at adding more.”

Selfridges plans to extend its reach to China in the future as part of the third phase of its strategy.

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