Harrods

Current Feature – Issue 125


Known across the world for having an unprecedented array of dazzling and diverse products, Harrods always aims to stay one step ahead of the game. Here, RLI sits down with Managing Director Michael Ward to discuss how the department store stays at the top and what drives the brand forward…

Owned by Qatar Holding, Harrods is an iconic luxury department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. The store’s 330 departments cover one million square feet of retail space and offer a wide range of exquisite products and services spanning seven floors, from clothing to jewellery, personal shopping and interior design. The store also features a stellar restaurant portfolio and the 100-year-old Food Halls. The establishment was born in 1849 through Charles Henry Harrod with humble beginnings as an East End grocer and tea merchant. From that day to the present, the mission for the company has remained the same, to be the number one luxury department store in the world and maintain its unprecedented standards of service, expertise and profitability.

“We are unique as a luxury store in the world and we have created a department store which has got authority in many of the sectors in which we operate.”

Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods

“We are unique as a luxury store in the world and we have created a department store which has got authority in many of the sectors in which we operate,” explains Managing Director of Harrods Michael Ward. “The key is having real authority in the category, but the ease of shopping and the adjacencies here are better than anywhere else in the world.” Each year the company continues to differentiate itself by its singularity and focus, its understanding of its customer base and its ability to place sub-sections and the adjacencies within the store. “The past year has been amazing; the best year that we’ve ever had. London is seen as the international capital of the world and Harrods is benefiting from that,” explains Ward.


A LEADER IN LUXURY

In a retail landscape that is always evolving, Harrods continues to invest each year to keep up-to-date with the current trends, irrespective of the cycle, to create something extraordinary for its customer. “We create amazing interiors, we make sure the shop-fits are unique and we always ensure that we have sufficient stock available. Ultra-high net worth individuals do not want to be told that their new watch will take three months to reach the store,” says Ward. Most recently in its London flagship, Harrods has launched a new wellness clinic. Primarily aimed at women, the space features normal beauty therapies but it also includes more out-of-the-box treatments including cryogenic freezing and intravenous injection of vitamins. The 10,000sq ft area also offers fitness and nutritional advice.

“We have a brilliant team of great people who understand our customer and come up with very good ideas, and with such knowledge of the customer we are able to be very reactive to changes.”

Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods

Over the next 12-18 months, the company will continue to invest in all areas of the business, and refresh departments such as its fine jewellery section, its toy zone before moving onto the men’s selection. Alongside its main home in Knightsbridge, Harrods also has a presence within the travel sector, and a small selection of international cafés and restaurants, which go back to the company’s roots as a tea shop. While potential expansion is always being assessed, at the moment this is not at the forefront of the company’s thinking. With such a recognisable name and brand, how does Harrods develop new initiatives to stay at the cutting edge? “We have a brilliant team of great people who understand our customer and come up with very good ideas, and with such knowledge of the customer we are able to be very reactive to changes,” Ward explains.


For the full article, please see the July/August 2017 issue or subscribe here