Department stores are an essential part of the British shopping experience, with big name stores ingrained in its shopping culture. Where you would once have to walk in and out of many shops to get everything you need, the emergence of department stores meant that you could now do it all under one roof.
The first one stop shop, in the long line of British department stores, came in the form of shopping arcades. The famous Burlington Street arcade originally consisted of a collection of 72 shops that allowed the public to shop in a new, dignified way. The arcade is still a bustling venue, visited by thousands of people every week, from ordinary members of the public to international royalty.
After the emergence of arcades came the arrival of big name department stores, that truly did bring everything under one roof. Fortnum and Mason was the first luxury department store, that brought everything from chocolate to stationary to London shoppers. Working with the British Fashion Council, Fortnum and Mason showcase young fashion designers as well as bring in big name brands around the world. Similarly, Harrods is a shopping palace in the heart of Knightsbridge that is top of the ‘to do’ list for many tourists visiting the city. With luxury brands for adults, children and even pets, Harrods is a must visit attraction next time you are in London.
Selfridges and Liberty’s is another other big name department store that leads the way in retail theatre. Selfridges has been leading the way in department store etiquette since 1909, with imitation stores popping up all over the world. Liberty’s is a store packed full of history, priding itself on selecting the best products and designers for their valued customers. A department store is a great stepping stone for up and coming designers to showcase their work and get their name out to the public. They are great forums to see if a product is likely to take off world wide, getting much more exposure than it would in a high street independent store.
The impressive array of shops is a huge bonus for customers but the experience of department store shopping is much more than how many bags you can carry home with you. Having 121 levels of customer service, a doorman to greet you and going home with an iconic shopping bag, all add to the fun and ceremony of department store shopping.