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How are department stores tackling the retail industry?

By Georgie Lillington


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As retailers attempt to keep up with the changing industry, some brands seek to open more stand-alone stores, while others shutter in favour of online sales.

Department stores have a particularly hard job remaining relevant, multiple alternatives for shoppers including sales direct from brands and online discounts leaves the store itself, the key asset left to work with.

Refurbishing store interiors and updating offerings seems to be the priority for these large stores.


Harrods have just announced that they will revamp their luxury watches department over the next year. Revealed in Spring 2018, The ‘Fine Watch Room’ is set to expand to be over two floors, connected with a marble lined spiral staircase.

The expansion will see more individual brand boutiques added to their current offering, which includes Chanel, Omega and Rolex. A larger multi brand area with more space for large collections, will be accompanied by three on site watchmakers.

A new dedicated entrance on Hans Road gives the area further importance. Plus a Chucs Italian restaurant completes the area, encouraging customers to stay for an extended period of time.

Liberty London

Liberty, the oldest department store in London revealed their new menswear section earlier this month, marking their first refurbishment in ten years.

The new area, which needed Liberty’s largest investment to date, sees 20 brands including Balenciaga added to Liberty’s menswear offering.

The section recreates an ‘eclectic home’, blending seamlessly with Liberty’s lavish style. An authentic environment has been crafted, offering customers a unique experience.

Selfridges’ Arnotts

Arnotts, located in Dublin and owned by Selfridges Group since 2015 will continue their store modernisation. They have already added the ‘Shoe Gallery’ and rearranged departments to enhance customer experience.

Their latest, 4 million pound investment will introduce a new accessories and beauty hall to the store, offering premium brands including Michael Kors.

Arnotts is also set to reveal a new online store, with updated IT systems.


Bloomingdale’s, the famous US department store have also announced a new area in four of their stores.

Targeting millennials, the stores with launch a beauty focussed area named ‘Glowhaus’, stocking over 800 cult online beauty brands including RMS Beauty and Lime Wire.

In an attempt to attract the millennial market, Glowhaus will offer new services and rewards, including a free deluxe samples after every 50 dollar spend.

Launched in the Roosevelt Field Store, New York on August 30, Glowhaus is set to be in more stores from 2018.

Interestingly, Glowhaus will also be offered online.

As consumers change their shopping habits, stores are having to ensure that a unique selling environment is created. But, will refurbishments save the department store?

Photo courtesy of Liberty, Screenshot courtesy of Bloomingdale’s website