Right of Reply: Mohamed al-Fayed

The owner of Harrods replies to Stuart Husband's attack on his store
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The Independent Culture
IT IS a pity Stuart Husband finds Harrods an irritation of modern life - most shoppers find it one of the great pleasures. My retail palace in Knightsbridge is now Britain's third-biggest tourist attraction. I have spent pounds 350m making it unique and exciting. As with most major experiences, one cannot hope to take it in at a glance, but every effort is made to help customers find their way around. There are numerous information desks, store directories and maps.

Mr Husband's appalling sense of direction is made worse by the fact that he clearly walks around with his eyes shut. He writes about following signs to kitchen appliances via men's grooming and car maintenance. There is no such sign - Harrods stopped offering car maintenance half a century ago.

The dress code to which Mr Husband takes exception is applauded by our customers. Most like the idea that we will maintain standards. That celebrities are occasionally excluded proves that the code is applied impartially.

Mr Husband may object to the "armies of tourists... bumbling around", but most people are more tolerant. Anyone wishing to enjoy private shopping can have that facility.

As far as I am aware, The Room of Luxury is the only room in the world offering all the major international designer accessory collections under one roof. To call it an airport lounge is petty.

My staff are trained to be courteous at all times. They wear red rosettes at sale time so customers can easily identify them. If the retail industry awarded rosettes for service, I have no doubt they would wear them all year round.

I have always believed the customer is right. The fact that so many keep shopping at Harrods suggests to me that I am getting it right - and that Mr Husband has got it wrong.

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