How on Earth anyone can say a career in retail is boring is beyond me after the last week or two. It’s been inundated with retail mystery, intrigue and so much more.

How on Earth anyone can say a career in retail is boring is beyond me after the last week or two. It’s been inundated with retail mystery, intrigue and so much more.

It’s been packed with retail mystery and intrigue (who leaked the Marks & Spencer figures?), drama (a hastily arranged conference call because of that leak), tension and conflict (the Sainsbury’s and Tesco spat over accounting procedures), tears (Morrisons’ Christmas results) and death (Jessops).

And if all that was not enough we also had the launch of Mr Selfridge on ITV as well, which will appeal to all of us from a ‘huckster’ background.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, as not only is it a good old-fashioned period drama but it still has relevance in its retail
messages and makes very worthwhile points that are as valid today as the period it
was set in.

Then, as now, was a time of seismic change in retailing and how it was transacted. People had been used to shopping in a certain way but were embracing new methods of purchasing (sound familiar?).

Today we are facing a retail revolution in how customers shop. Back then Harry Selfridge revolutionised retailing in the UK and created a brand new channel and route to market for products.

But why did he do it and why was he successful?

Firstly he was a pioneer, an innovator, brave and he took risks. His vision was to create the finest department store in the world “where everyone is welcome” and that is exactly what he did.

To this day Selfridges is still the only department store to have twice won the accolade ‘Best Department Store in the World’.

He understood about creating an environment that provided choice - “dream big, don’t replicate inventory”.

He created retail theatre and drama and was obsessive about his customers, understanding them intimately.

All of which is still hugely relevant in today’s world. I will be tuning in again to ITV on Sunday, not only to watch the lavish production but to learn from a master of retail.