Department store group Selfridges said it is on track to launch its much-anticipated online offer in spring, as it revealed it expects profits of at least £100m in its centenary year.
The site will offer fashion, food and cosmetics. Group chief executive Paul Kelly said it will “take a lot of our focus in 2010”.
He said: “We are not in that many locations and so this gives us the opportunity to touch a lot more people. It has been two years in the making and is another multimillion-pound investment, which we have thought about very carefully.”
He added that the launch is “very much like opening a new store” and that “it is impossible to recreate the buzz of visiting the stores but will be an energetic site and we will do all we can to entertain”.
Bucking the gloom, Selfridges has built on record profits of £88.1m in the year to January 2009 and Kelly expected revenues to be up “by a high single digit”, compared with £809m the previous year, and profits to meet or exceed £100m in the year to January 2010. He also noted trading at Selfridges’ regional stores in Manchester and Birmingham had been strong, “showing that this is not just about tourists visiting the London store or the weak pound but about strong local sales growth”.
The group will also refurbish its central Manchester shop – expected to begin next year, at a cost of £30m to £40m – and complete a phased fit-out of a 32,000 sq ft women’s footwear department in its London store in the second half of next year.
Kelly said next year’s VAT hike and upcoming election might have short term effects but the longer term fortunes of Selfridges would be based on “the breadth of our offer and on entertainment and buzz in-store. There will be plenty more events in 2010 including some around the World Cup”.