People walk in front of the Harrods department store in London, on May 8, 2010. Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed has sold luxury London department store Harrods to the investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, his financial advisors Lazard said on May 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Iconic London-based luxury department store, Harrods, plans to offer personal shopping to some of its most valuable customers as a first step back to normality.

Speaking after Boris Johnson announce plans for non-essential retailers to potentially re-open in early June, the boss of Harrods, Michael Ward, said the store is “poised and ready” to reopen, but this will likely be done in stages.

The managing director told the Evening Standard: “We are working towards a phased re-opening strategy and are poised and ready to open our

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He added: “Our focus is on opening our doors to customers again and supporting the British and local London economy get back on its feet.”

Ward says the biggest challenge will likely be consumer confidence, so it is essential to have a plan in place that will make shoppers feel happy and confident returning to Knightsbridge and shopping in the department store.

While Ward has not detailed Harrods’ plans for the physical reopening, The Mail on Sunday revealed that the department store will start offering personal shopping for some of its most valuable customers.

According to the newspaper, Harrods employees at its famous Knightsbridge shop will take orders over the phone and by smartphone messaging.

The service, described as “remote clienteling”, is expected to begin today (May 18, 2020) and Harrods said it will be built upon the “one-on-one relationships that our retail colleagues have with customers”.

Only a ”very small number” of Harrods’ 5,000 staff are being required to introduce the personal shopping service, observing rules on social distancing.

Wards says it is taking the opportunity “to explore, to test and to learn how we as a business adapt to changing circumstances”.

He adds that the next phase would likely see customers allowed to return to departments of the store where it is easier to practise social distancing.