Chicago Mayor Woos Harrods

Feb 19, 2002

Harrods, the famous department store in London, has its sights set on Chicago, according to USA Today. “We are at the very earliest stages on this project,” says Peter Willasey, spokesman for Harrods. A three-acre site across from Marshall Field’s on State Street has been set aside for Harrods. State Street, in the heart of downtown Chicago, is in the midst of a retail renaissance. After decades of decline, Sears has returned to join Old Navy, Toys R Us, Borders and Carson Pirie Scott.

“The proposal is to create a multi-use project offering retail, condominiums and a hotel all under the Harrods umbrella,” Willasey says. It may seem odd timing for both parties. Department stores have been out of favor with U.S. shoppers recently. Many have gained a reputation for poor customer service, narrow selection and little distinction. Sales have been poor. But Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was so impressed by the massive seven-story icon of luxury retailing in London that he sent a letter to owner Mohamed Al Fayed.

Moderator Comment: Will Harrods be able to duplicate
its retailing success if it opens in the U.S.?

Much of the mystique of Harrods is its uniqueness. There
is, after all, only one Knightsbridge store. Here’s hoping that expansion does
not lead to decline for the retailing institution. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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