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Top British Department Stores

Retailing has been undergoing a massive transformation worldwide due to eCommerce and mobile commerce in the past decade. The UK is no exception. For many years, it has been viewed as one of the most dynamic retail markets, and it continues to be an important part of its economy. The market value of the retail sector in the United Kingdom saw steady growth in the last 5 years between 2016 and 2021, rising by approximately 20% to 465 billion pounds, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Projections show that the sector could hit over 475 billion pounds by the rise of 2.2% in 2022. While the growth is great, it is not without enduring the impact of the digital shift.

As with the United States’ Retail Apocalypse, the United Kingdom had the Death of the High Street. The data revealed that major department store chains such as BHS, Debenhams, House of Fraser and John Lewis had 467 branches five years ago, but following the collapse of BHS, closure of Debenhams and some restructures undertaken by John Lewis and House of Fraser, only 79 remain. The oft-cited reason for this catastrophe is that both consumers and their shopping patterns have evolved. Although one of the main reasons for these negativities seems to be the Covid-19 pandemic, but the pandemic was only accelerating the process. A report from Retail Economics predicted that half of all UK retail sales will be online within the next decade–up from one-fifth today.

This trend is likely to continue. The Centre for Retail Research, which found that a total of 11,047 stores closed in 2021, expects every retailer to review their estate and make decisions about how many stores they will need to meet face-to-face demand in 2024.

In light of this uncertain future, successful retailers will have to keep constantly reinventing themselves to keep up with the changing times. Department stores, in particular, are the lifeblood of high street retail in the UK. In 2021, department store retail sales in the UK were recorded at 33 billion British pounds. In this blog post, we lay out some of the department store chains in the United Kingdom that have stayed strong in spite of the ongoing digital shift.

The London Three

  • Harrods
  • Liberty
  • Fortnum & Mason

The British Classics

  • John Lewis & Partners
  • Marks & Spencer

Fashion & Luxuries

  • Selfridges
  • Fenwick
  • Harvey Nichols
  • Dover Street Market

Everyday Shopping

  • House of Fraser
  • Bentalls
  • Jarrold


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