London is the heart of England and the shopaholics of London have the Harrods in their hearts. Harrods is nothing else but an upmarket departmental store located on the Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in London. The Harrods group of Companies has many enterprises, such as the Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Buenos Aries, Harrods Aviation, etc. But out of all these, the most popular enterprise of the Harrods brand is the departmental store.
The Harrods in London occupies a land of 5 acres which an area of twenty thousand square meters. There are more than 330 departments within a selling space of more than a million sq. feet. This makes Harrods the biggest and the largest departmental store in, not just London, but the entire England. The motto of Harrods is “Omnia Omnibus Ubique” which means “All Things for All People and Everywhere”.
The place was built by Charles Henry Harrod. He first established his business as a draper at the age of 25 in 1824 at the south of Thames River in Southwark. Later he grew his business from that to a grocery wholesaler and later moved his business to nice posh places of London. Then the business was taken over by his son Charles Digby Harrod in 1861. The business faced many ups and downs like fire in 1883. The current building of Harrods was completely constructed in 1905 after the initiation of designing in the year 1894. The architecture was designed by the famous architect Chalres William Stephens. Later, the business was expanded and they moved to many foreign branches and bought many stores. They worked hard and progressed from a single store to a chain of stores and came to level they are at today. Today, Harrods is biggest store in the whole Europe and is approximately half the size of the biggest departmental store of UK, Oxford Street. This is an inspiring and motivational story for London and the whole world.
The products and services offered in these departmental stores are countless. Since there are more than three hundred stores, the range of services varies to a great extent. They offer products like clothes for men, women, children and infants, electronic appliances, jewelry for all, sporting gears, toys, pets and their accessories, bridal trousseau, beauty products and health items, gift items, housewares and home furniture and appliances, stationery items and many other products. You name it and they have it. The services offered are more than you can think of. There are about 32 restaurants which serve a wide range of dishes and beverages such as high tea, tapas, pub food, haute cuisines apart from the regular fast food items and meals. There is a personal shopping assistance programme offered in the Harrods which is called the “By Appointment”. Other regular services usually offered are tailoring; watch repair; beauty spa and salon; pharmacy and dispensary; barbers shop; Ella Jade Bathroom Planning and design service; event planning and catering services, food delivery counters; wine steward; bespoke fragrance formulations, cakes, gift boxes and picnic hampers; Harrods Financial Services and Harrods Bank and many others. On the peak days, the place is visited by more than 3 million customers which is the maximum proportion of customers in London from non-English speaking countries. Staff at Harrods is also very diverse and comes from more than fifty different countries and the entire population of staff is much more than 5 thousand.
Harrods, being such a great place, is the holder of some Royal warrants from Queen Elizabeth II for Provisions and Household Goods, from the Duke of Edinburg for the outfitters, from The Prince of Wales f or Outfitters and Saddlers and from the Late Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) for the China and Glass products. The Royal Warrants were held since the year 1910 but were removed from Harrods by the Al-Fayed by burning them as reported by the ‘Daily Telegraph’ of London.
The Harrods also has a dress code which was implemented in 1989 because several people believed that it were not properly dressed. The dress policy includes a soldier in the soldier’s uniform and a scout troop dress accordingly. Along with these, there is a woman in Mohican hair style and FC Shakhtar Donetsk’s team with tracksuits on. But this policy is no longer compulsory and most of the outfits and dresses are allowed. But they are still very strict about certain styles of clothes like Bermuda, beach shorts, cycling shorts, beach wear or swim wear, flip flops, thong sandals, high cut, bare feet, etc. They will not allow anyone wearing such clothes to enter the complex and the staff has complete right to deny you to enter the store without giving explanations. They also do not allow sweaty or dirty clothing.
Being famous is not as easy as eating. This is also the case with Harrods. Harrods have been criticized and blamed for various reasons many times. It was criticized using regular protests outside the Harrods for selling products with real animal fur. It was also criticized for selling a line of female underwear with the images of Indian Goddesses and this came from the Hindu community. But in spite of all these issues, Harrods stands high as a symbol of England.