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Harrods: The Department Store that Dreams are Made Of

Harrods is a well-known department store that is the epitome of opulence and luxury worldwide. It has an amazing one million square feet of retail space that holds 330 departments and over 15 million people, tourists and celebrities alike grace its doors every year. It has become an icon of London and is the place to visit if you want a truly decadent shopping experience.

When Did It All Start?

Harrods began in the 1800’s when its founder, Charles Henry Harrod, rented a small shop on Brompton Road, just a short journey away from the Park Grand Heathrow Hotel. It originally sold groceries, and still does today, and employed three members of staff including a messenger boy. Charles Digby Harrod bought the business from his father in 1860 and continued to grow and expand the store, introducing stationary, perfumes and medicines to their stock and therefore turning over £1,000 a week, which equals £85,000 in today’s money. This dramatic expansion and boost in profits meant that more staff could be employed, and by 1880, over 100 people were working at Harrods.

Tragedy hit the store in 1883 when a fire raged through the store causing it to burn to the ground. Charles was an astute businessman and worked tirelessly to keep up with his customers orders and his Christmas deliveries which earned him a record-breaking year in his profits. In return, he gained a loyal following of customers which included important and famous figures of the age, such as Charlie Chaplin, Oscar Wilde, Laurence Olivier and the British Royal Family.

The 1900’s saw Harrods transform to the iconic building of today. Designed by Charles William Stephens, its exterior is decorated in over 12,000 lightbulbs that are illuminated every night.

What is Inside Harrods?

With over 300 departments within 5 acres, Harrods has so much to offer, for example, there are a range of clothing departments for men, women and children; a pet shop with accessories, Christmas shop, jewellery, homeware, furniture, electronics, souvenir shop, toys, perfumery, beauty, winery and food halls, just to name a few. There are a huge number of places to eat in the building, a total of 32 to be exact, ranging from quaint cafés to five-star restaurants, whatever your heart desires, Harrods will have it.

Harrods is so much more than just a department store as it offers an extensive range of services as well. There are personal shoppers, tailors, watch repair services, financial services including a bank, a service that creates bespoke picnic hampers, cakes and perfumes, barbers, an event organiser, pharmacists, and a design service. To accommodate all of this, Harrods has now gone from 2 shop assistants to 5,000 from over 50 different countries from around the world. There is little wonder why it attracts millions of people from all over the world, and why many travel from accommodations near Heathrow Airport just to experience it.

Just remember, if you do need to use one of these services, be advised to book your appointment many weeks in advance as spaces fill up very quickly.

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