Selfridges revamp boosts sales

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SELFRIDGES, the department store group, has enjoyed a big boost in sales at its flagship Oxford Street store in London following the near-completion of a pounds 100m revamp.

Underlying sales, stripping out new selling space, were up by 5 per cent on last year in the 15 weeks to mid-May. Overall sales grew by 12 per cent, helped by a 7 per cent increase in retail space.

The company said sales had grown across most product ranges, with sales up strongly in the improved beauty hall while women's and men's clothing sales were up by 14 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

Sales at the Manchester store, which opened last September, were increasing at "gratifying" levels, the company added.

Shares in Selfridges, which was de-merged from Sears last summer, rose 2p to 264.5p on the news.

Peter Williams, the finance director, said: "The like-for-like figure at Oxford Street does compare fairly well with the market but we have made quite substantial improvements to the store."

He added that tourist revenues from outside the European Union had improved over the 15 weeks after harsh falls last year.

Selfridges is considering opening a third store, either in Nottingham or Birmingham, but will wait until Manchester has seen through its second Christmas before making a decision.

Talks are continuing with a number of companies over developing the hotel on which it owns the freehold at the back of the flagship store building.

The current lease with Thistle Hotels, one of the companies being asked for ideas, expires in 2001. Selfridges is considering developing a car park and office space to the rear of the store, some of which could be transformed into extra retail space.