Selfridges sees further opportunities in Europe

Selfridges chief executive Peter Williams sees scope to export its 'house of brands' retail approach to the Continent.

He said: 'I don't think the Selfridges' name would travel abroad, but I do think the concept could. If you look around Europe there's a lot of examples of very tired department stores.'

However, he insisted: 'If we do pursue that it would be very much in the long term as our immediate objective is to get eight sites in the UK.'

According to broker CSFB, the retailer's success in Manchester city centre proves that 'Selfridges' DNA is transferable to other urban locations'.

The broker said: 'The significant number of designer labels that allowed Selfridges to sell its product from this new store is illustrative of the brand's power and a level of exclusivity that only Selfridges can establish outside the capital.'

Despite the problems affecting West End retailers Selfridges - which generates 80 per cent of its business from Oxford Street - delivered a buoyant set of annual results last week.

Overall sales rose 10.5 per cent to£445 million and pre-tax profits from£38 million in 2002 to£41 million.

The performance of Selfridges' Oxford Street flagship was flat. That compared favourably to near-neighbour John Lewis, which admitted a 12 per cent drop in February.

Selfridges' fourth store will open in Birmingham's Bull Ring this Autumn.

A planning application for the 200,000 sq ft Trongate development has been lodged with Glasgow City Council.

Negotiations are also in progress for Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle.