While the lockdown meant plenty of unexpected developments in retail, the easing of the lockdown is also turning out to hold some surprises and on Thursday it emerged that the luxury department store Harrods will open a new branch in Westfield during its clearance sale.
The new shop in the central London shopping mall is designed to ease the pressure on the Knightsbridge flagship during the summer clearance sale weeks – a period that's expected to see frenetic activity this year given the huge amount of stock that remains unsold.
The Knightsbridge flagship will reopen on the first day it's allowed to – June 15 – after a historic first-ever shutdown for the store in 170 years. This reopening will be followed in early July by the debut in Westfield London of Harrods Outlet.
It means the main flagship will be able to put strict social distancing measures in place and also create the best possible backdrop for new collections that will be arriving. The Knightsbridge location will use technology to monitor footfall so that it can control numbers inside the store at any time. And it will also convert its doors into specific entrances and exits.
Social distancing will, of course, also be crucial at the new branch, which will cover two floors with a design specifically geared towards allowing staff and customers inside to stay apart.
Harrods MD Michael Ward said: “In the new world in which we find ourselves, the economy needs businesses willing to look at its business model and current operations and think differently to enable growth, while protecting its customers and employees.
“Harrods Outlet allows us to enable better social distancing across a larger footprint, move towards the new season decisively and confidently, and retail in a responsible way.”