Selfridges promotes the power of positive thinking in gloomy times – WWD

In a month with little to celebrate and much to mourn, including high inflation, rising interest rates and the most severe public sector strikes in 30 years, Selfridges defies gravity and takes a philosophical approach to the new year.

Amidst all the turmoil in the country, Selfridges is accelerating, accelerating its green agenda and engaging in experiential retailing. It also promises a year of positive intentions, color therapy, and a call to action on the environmental front.

And the sale? With all the good vibes circulating in stores, sales should follow naturally.

Selfridges’ new year will kick off on Monday with the unveiling of windows in London, Manchester and Birmingham, England. They will be filled with lots of colorful, original illustrations related to this year’s Selfridges Celebrates theme.

An illustration by Brindha Kumar from the Selfridges Bridal Suite, part of a series of window displays to be revealed on Monday.

Selfridges said it wanted to cater for all kinds of celebrations and “make sure the little wins of a lifetime are unique and exciting. It is a response to the current times and a point of view of how we want to see the next 12 months.”

As part of this effort, the store asked illustrators including Angela Kirkwood, Paulina Almira, Brindha Kumar and Lena Yokoyama to create 2D artwork to be displayed in storefronts throughout the year.

Selfridges wants the old-school 2D illustrations to be a point of contrast in “a world that celebrates hyper-connected and multisensory” and a celebration of “form and color.”

Boosting morale isn’t the store’s only goal this year. Selfridges also invites its customers to act and engage in activities for sustainable development.

Andrew Keith, managing director of Selfridges, said the store is “committed to finding solutions through a continuous creative approach to retail innovation. The scale of our ambition cannot be underestimated, but we are inspired by what lies ahead and how we make it happen for our customers.”

As reported last September, Selfridges has accelerated its net-zero carbon goal by postponing it to 2040. Agreement.

As part of this commitment, the retailer has also set a new goal of ensuring that at least 45 percent of its transactions (excluding food, restaurants and homeware) come from recycled products or circular services such as resale, rental, refill or repair.

It has also set up ‘Reselfridges’, a portfolio of circular initiatives that it hopes will eventually become the backbone of the business.

As part of this commitment to the circular economy, the store plans to launch a bag subscription service this year and expand existing children’s clothing rentals. Sizes now range from six months to 16 years, and the apparel includes casual and street wear, with ski wear coming in late 2023.

Illustration by Angela Kirkwood of Selfridges Food Hall, part of an in-store 2D art exhibition.

For Christmas 2022, Reselfridges watches and jewelery moved from an online service to the London floor, landing at The Corner Shop on Oxford Street. The average selling price was £2,500, with Omega Seamasters among the bestsellers.

This year, Selfridges is also expanding its partnership with luxury vintage clothing retailer OOTO London, which will be showcasing a variety of awning designers over the next 12 months.

It currently presents and sells “museum class” pieces designed by Gianni and Donatella Versace between 1987 and 2003. From mid-January, the focus will be on Miuccia Prada’s early collections for the brand, while in March the spotlight will shift to Tom Ford at Gucci.

Coinciding with the ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, Selfridges and OOTO London will present an edition of the late designer’s work across many decades and fashion houses.

Selfridges is also acquiring new brands that have embedded green values ​​in their collections.

These include Starlit, a Los Angeles-based brand known for its sustainable fabrics, and Conner Ives, who made a name for himself by turning piano scarves into halter tops or old T-shirts into day dresses.

It will also sell Maria McManus, a brand that urges customers to buy less and more responsibly, an oft-repeated phrase of the late Vivienne Westwood.

Selfridges’ green campaign launched under the Weston family and new owners Central Group and Signa Holding, who bought Selfridges last year for a reported £4bn, are 100 per cent behind the strategy.

As reported last September, the partners plan to make key changes to the business, but not to the overall strategy, operations or personality of the store, which has become synonymous with British luxury, creativity and green values.

Selfridges may be the largest group in the partnership’s joint portfolio, which includes 22 luxury department stores such as KaDeWe in Germany and Globus in Switzerland, but the plan is to treat it like the rest of the property – and the pride of every city that has stores.

“We have iconic destinations in every city we operate in, and to grow we need to offer people new reasons to visit us and new experiences in stores. The new retail concept is our vision for the future, not just for Selfridges, but for all our stores,” said Stefano Della Valle, Selfridges’ new CEO and head of the Central and Signa group of luxury department stores in Europe.

Illustration by Brindha Kumar from The Psychic Sisters space in Selfridges, part of an exhibition of original 2D artwork.

Della Valle and Ernst-Dieter Berninghaus, co-chairmen of Selfridges Group and CEO of Signa, said initial investments in Selfridges will initially focus on food and beauty halls and omnichannel offerings.

The plan is to have a grocery market in addition to a number of restaurants. While Selfridges already has a grocery market and eateries, these are not the destinations for shoppers. The food hall at KaDeWe Berlin, on the other hand, occupies an entire floor and houses 27 restaurants.

The new owners are also planning to refurbish the Old Selfridges Hotel, next to the shop on Oxford Street in London. The space has not been used as a hotel for years, although it is used for fashion shows and other events.

Both partners said they want the new hotel space to enrich the Oxford Street neighborhood and serve the community for the next 20 to 30 years. Central and Signa think long term and always see their stores and properties as part of the city fabric.

Berninghaus, who described the purchase of Selfridges as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”, said a number of potential plans were being discussed.

“We don’t think in terms of one hotel concept or one restaurant, but rather a connected concept that connects tourists and locals. We think in terms of a destination that makes the whole area more attractive,” he said.

The new owners are optimistic about their prospects in the UK and London, despite the country’s macroeconomic challenges and the decline in international tourism following Brexit and post-COVID-19.

Berninghaus said they had considered the challenges Brexit had created for trade with Europe when negotiating the purchase of Selfridges. They also took into account the difficult economic situation faced by countries after COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and soaring inflation.

“London has been one of the most attractive cities in the world for centuries and will remain so. Oxford Street is one of the most exciting places in the world that tourists will return to,” said Berninghaus. “We are here for the long term and we are very optimistic about this market in the long term.”

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