Selfridges Building

The Selfridges Building, Birmingham

Selfridges is a chain of department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded by American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge who opened a large store in London's Oxford Street on 15 March 1909.

Selfridges Oxford Street is credited with coining the phrase "The customer is always right", Selfridge used advertising extensively and also differentiated his London store by adopting a different internal layout. Instead of keeping items behind counters, he placed them on displays that were more accessible to customers. Such changes were soon adopted by other retailers.

For almost 90 years, Selfridges was a one-location business, but in 1998 it opened its first store outside London, at Trafford Park, Manchester. By the end of 2003, Selfridges had four stores: two in Manchester and (the latest) one in Birmingham's Bullring shopping complex which opened in September 2003. The Birmingham store is covered in 15,000 spun aluminium discs and was designed by architects Future Systems. A further store is scheduled to open in Glasgow in 2007.

The Birmingham store, designed by architects Future Systems, is covered in 15,000 spun aluminium discs. Since it opened in 2003, the Birmingham store has been named every year by industry magazine Retail Week as one of the 100 stores to visit in the world.

The current shopping centre at the Bull Ring is the busiest in the United Kingdom with 36.5 million visitors in 2004. It is also the UK's eleventh largest shopping complex and it houses one of only four Selfridges department stores and the largest Debenhams outside of London. Consequently, the centre has been a huge success, attracting custom from all over the world, including New York.

Those of you who use Windows 7 should have seen this before as a picture of it is available as a background wallpaper.