31 July 2020, 08:27 AM
  • Taking place every weekend, Market on the Mews offers a safe open-air shopping experience
Selfridges adapts to new way of shopping with outdoor markets

Luxury retailer Selfridges has launched an open-air market behind its flagship store.

The Oxford Street branch will play host to Market on the Mews, with a rotating selection of stalls selling food and drink, flowers, plants and homewares, as well as live entertainment and activities for adults and children.

Tucked away on Edwards Mews, the market will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4pm. Weekly food vendors include Brixton-based coffee roastery Assembly Coffee; King’s Cross-based Two Tribes Brewing; and Darlish ice cream.

Speaking about the launch, Selfridges stores director Meave Wall said, “The launch of Market on the Mews follows several successful brand installations that we’ve held in that space, with the market giving us the opportunity to create a different shopping experience for our customers this summer.”

“The market is a totally outdoor experience with each stall featuring brilliant independent brands. New brands like Assembly Coffee, Two Tribes Beer and Your London Florist will be available exclusively from Market of the Mews. As well as shopping, visitors to Market on the Mews can also enjoy live entertainment, DJs and fun activities for families and kids.”

It’s an innovative set-up from the retailer, and it comes as the sector attempts to bounce back from record-low sales post-lockdown. With many consumers still uneasy about shopping in-store, an open-air market is a creative solution that could encourage anxious shoppers to spend whilst supporting small British businesses.

Social distancing measures are in place, as are other safety measures such as a one-way system. Only 16 people are allowed into the market at any given time, staff are equipped with PPE, and all stalls are set up with perspex screens.

Like many retailers, Selfridges has been forced to adapt to the current situation in various ways. Most recently, the company announced plans to cut 450 jobs as annual sales were predicted to be significantly lower than previous years owing to the pandemic. The department store revealed it would reduce its total workforce by 14 percent in an effort to cope with what it called the “toughest year we have experienced in our recent history”.

The decision won’t have been an easy one for the family-owned business. But with group managing director Anne Pitcher stressing that the retail sector was already changing pre-COVID-19, it seems initiatives such as the new outdoor market are part of significant steps to “reinvent retail and prepare to build back”.

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