From ArticleWorld

Harrods, one of the most famous department stores in the world, is a public limited company and counts an airline, a bank and a casino among its varied businesses. After passing through two hands the Harrods group of companies, one of the largest business houses in London, is presently owned by the Egyptian business tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed. In its 161 years, Harrods has grown from a small grocery store to its present vast size and includes in its business Harrods Airlines, Harrods Estates, Harrods Bank as well as a Harrods Casino. Despite being embroiled in controversies from time to time, especially in recent years, Harrods has continued to grow from strength to strength and attract an ever increasing number of customers


Inception and early years

In 1835 Harrods began its life in London’s East End as a grocery store owned by a small time tea merchant, Charles Henry Harrod. Some time later Charles moved shop to Brompton Road, in up scale Knightsbridge, to take advantage of the better market conditions. It turned out to be a wise decision and the store grew to take over neighboring shops.


Harrods continued to grow and scaled new heights under the ownership of Charles D. Harrod, the son of the founder. A fire in the year 1883 did nothing to arrest its growth; in fact Harrods emerged larger and stronger from the ashes of the original store. In the year 1889 Harrods signed up as a member of the London Stock Exchange by becoming a public company and re-christened itself the Harrod’s Stores Limited. The present owner, Al Fayed, bought the store in 1985 and expanded it to include in its business the storage and the staff only areas, so that the premises of the store included the basement as well as the top floors, which were off limits to customers before.

The Claim and fame

The motto of Harrods has remained 'Everything for Everybody Everywhere' since the time Harrods first came into being, and the store has tried to live up to its meaning over the years. The rich and the famous have been on its client list and some of the more popular names include:

  1. Arnold Bennett-who based his novel Hugo on the store
  2. Noel Coward-bought an alligator from the pet store
  3. Ronald Reagan-was presented a baby elephant
  4. A.A. Milne –bought the original Winnie-the-Pooh here, and
  5. Alfred Hitchcock – had fresh fish flown out to him in Hollywood

Recent years

The last few years of Harrods have been marred by controversies and disagreements. Al Fayed, the owner, lost his son in a terrible car accident which also killed Princess Diana. He has since then been embroiled in contentions with the royal family and has had his claim for U.K. citizenship turned down, time and again, even though he has resided in the Country for twenty years.