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Harrods is recognised for its celebrity-endorsed sales, food hall and signature green bags, Harrods is one of the world's largest and most famous department stores. Its motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique - All Things for All People, Everywhere - and the store attracts 15 million customers each year.

Harrods is most certainly one of the world's most famous department stores, established in 1849 as a humble grocery store employing two assistants. Today, it offers everything from food to fashion, furniture to sportswear plus 20 in-store restaurants serving every kind of cuisine imaginable from pizza to sushi. Services range from piano tuning to fitting saddles. Must-see sights include the Food Halls, the Egyptian Hall and the Pet Department. At night the store is illuminated by 11,500 light bulbs.

Encompassing seven floors of exquisite collections across 4.5 acres, we welcome over 15 million customers through our doors each year.

department store located in Brompton Road in Brompton, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. The store occupies a 5-acre (20,000 m2) site and has over one million square feet (90,000 m2) of selling space in over 330 departments. The UK's second-biggest shop, Oxford Street's Selfridges, is a little over half the size with 540,000 square feet (50,000 m2) of selling space.

History:
Harrods founder Charles Henry Harrod first set up shop in 1824, at the age of 25, south of the River Thames in Southwark, at 228, Borough High Street. He ran this business, variously listed as a Draper, or Mercer and Haberdasher, certainly until 1831. During 1825 the business was listed as 'Harrod and Wicking, Linen Drapers, Retail', but this partnership was dissolved at the end of that year. His first grocery business appears to be as ‘Harrod & Co.Grocers’ at 163 Upper Whitecross Street, Clerkenwell, E.C.1., in 1832. In 1834 in London's East End, he established a wholesale grocery in Stepney, at 4, Cable Street, with a special interest in tea. In 1849, to escape the vice of the inner city and to capitalise on trade to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in nearby Hyde Park, Harrod took over a small shop in the district of Brompton, on the site of the current store. Beginning in a single room employing two assistants and a messenger boy, Harrod's son Charles Digby Harrod built the business into a thriving retail operation selling medicines, perfumes, stationery fruit, and vegetables. Harrods rapidly expanded, acquired the adjoining buildings, and employed one hundred people by 1880.

However, the store's booming fortunes were reversed in early December 1883, when it burnt to the ground. Remarkably, in view of this calamity, Charles Harrod fulfilled all of his commitments to his customers to make Christmas deliveries that year—and made a record profit in the process. In short order, a new building was built on the same site, and soon Harrods extended credit for the first time to its best customers, among them Oscar Wilde, Lillie Langtry, Ellen Terry, Charlie Chaplin, Noël Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, Sigmund Freud, A. A. Milne, and many members of the British Royal Family.

On Wednesday, 16 November 1898, Harrods debuted England's first "moving staircase" (escalator) in their Brompton Road stores; the device was actually a woven leather conveyor belt-like unit with a mahogany and "silver plate-glass" balustrade.[10] Nervous customers were offered brandy at the top to revive them after their 'ordeal'. The department store was purchased by the Fayed brothers in 1985.

Harrods became a public company in 1889 and by the 1890s it had established a bank and estate agency and a department selling exotic pets that lasted until the 1970s. During World War II, the store transformed itself from selling luxury goods to making uniforms, parachutes and parts for Lancaster bombers.

deserts at Harrods

In 1959, High Street department store group House of Fraser bought Harrods.

2010: Qatar Holdings become the new owners of Harrods, after Fayed announces he has sold the shop. It had been reported that Qatar Holdings paid £1.5 billion for the Brompton store, in a deal signed in the early hours of 8 May 2010.

2010: Harrods looks at the possibility of expanding to China and opening a new shop in Shanghai. Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods cited Chinese shoppers in Harrods is increasing and the average spend by a Chinese shopper is three times that of any other nationality.

The shop's 330 departments offer a wide range of products and services. Products on offer include clothing for women, men, children and infants, electronics, jewellery, sporting gear, bridal trousseau, pets and pet accessories, toys, food and drink, health and beauty items, packaged gifts, stationery, housewares, home appliances, furniture, and much more.

A representative sample of shop services includes 32 restaurants, serving everything from high tea to tapas to pub food to haute cuisine; a personal shopping-assistance programme known as "By Appointment"; a watch repair service; a tailor; a dispensing pharmacy; a beauty spa and salon; a barbers shop; Harrods Financial Services; Harrods Bank; Ella Jade Bathroom Planning and Design Service; private events planning and catering; food delivery; a wine steward; bespoke "picnic" hampers and gift boxes; bespoke cakes; and bespoke fragrance formulations.

Up to 300,000 customers visit the shop on peak days, comprising the highest proportion of customers from non-English speaking countries of any department store in London. More than five thousand staff from over fifty different countries work at Harrods.

harrods liquidAs of the 15 October 2009, Harrods Bank has started selling gold bars and coins that customers can buy "off the shelf". The gold products range from 1 g to 12.5 kg, and can be purchased within Harrods Bank. They also offer storage services, as well as the ability to sell back gold to Harrods in the future.

Harrods now employs about 4,000 staff. The sale includes all parts of the group, including Harrods Estates and the charter aircraft service Air Harrods.

Harrods Address: Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7730 1234      
Website: http://www.harrods.com

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