Iconic English high end department store Harrods is said to open its first store outside the UK by end of 2020. Harrod’s department store currently owned by Qatari investors selected Shanghai’s Pudong district, where the airport is also located and which is known as “home of wealthy chinese millennials”. Harrods aims to serve China’s emerging middle class and specifically target the spending-minded, quality-conscious millennials.
Michael Ward, general manager of the company, explained that the company has been investing in the Asian country for more than a decade, according to Daily Telegraph. “We see continued growth in China, b ut we see the need to reside in the country,” he said. Called The Residence, the site will be limited to high-end private shoppers who will also have access to a bar and tea room on site and events hosted by luxury brands throughout the year.
Harrods healthy financials is due to how department stores have negotiated luxury’s relationship with mass fashion. Harrods has shunned any relationship with mass fashion. After being purchased by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund for $2 billion in 2010, Harrods has focused exclusively on its wealthiest customers, aside from a few more affordable souvenir products for tourists, according to Harrods’ managing director, Michael Ward.
Besides, Harrods has likely learned a great deal from Galeries Lafayette (their French luxury retail counterpart’s) experiences in mainland China over the past decade. And after the new Shanghai location drums up buzz around a star-studded grand opening, maybe it will manage to sustain momentum throughout the rest of the year? If it does this, it will certainly stand out as a lesson for other international retailers as the uncertain Chinese luxury market enters a new decade.