Consciously targeting tourists enjoying their summer holidays, British department store Selfridges opened its Christmas shop in its London flagship this week. Launching unprecedentedly early, 3,000 ft of the store's fourth floor has been transformed – a full 143 days before Christmas.
In terms of key product enticements, the shop will include 125 cracker options, more than 1,000 card and wrapping paper variations, and 60,000 mouth-blown glass baubles designed exclusively for the store. A second phase will launch in the autumn, doubling the size and festive fervour of the space.
The department store saw sales surge by 20% in the six weeks running up to Christmas in 2014, affirming the value of more timely promotions. However, visitor figures to London last summer reached a record-breaking 4.9 million holidaymakers between July and September – spurring the brand to make a seasonal push considerably earlier this year.
Geraldine James, Selfridges' Christmas decoration buyer, told Stylus: "We have so many customers visiting from all over the world and eager to snap up festive souvenirs on their summer holidays which they can't buy at home. So we have to make sure we're ready to showcase Christmas decorations."
Targeting the tourist-consumer certainly isn't new to Selfridges. The London store has Arabic and Chinese signage at fashion concessions as well as Russian and Mandarin-speaking staff, and also accepts China's most popular bankcard, UnionPay.
Other brands are also wising up to this market. US department store Macy's Herald Square location in New York has an official co-brand NYC visitor information centre (see Macy's Homes in on Tourist-Consumers), while Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo's Tokyo flagship employs sales associates fluent in English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Korean, who also impart information about the surrounding neighbourhood (see Super Service in the Retail Sector).
For more on key strategies for department store retailing, see also Redefining the Department Store: Store Concepts and Redefining the Department Store: Digital Innovations.
Outlet retail centres – shopping meccas for brand-aware, yet budget-savvy shoppers, including a large swathe of luxury enthusiasts – are another key hotspot for international consumer strategies. See Outlet Retailing Developments and Meet the Chinese Travellers.