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Why Harrods Hasn’t Staged Its Famous Summer Sale Yet

Harrodssupply chain is backed up, forcing the upscale British retailer to postpone its iconic summer sale.

“Our supply chain is running two-to-three weeks behind where it should be,” Harrods managing director Michael Ward told Bloomberg TV at the Qatar Economic Forum last week.

That means the London department store company has to push back the sale “because I need another 10 percent of new-season stock to allow me to function into the new year,” said Ward, who went on to cite the problems hiring people since Brexit upended the landscape. “And it’s not the skilled or qualified, it’s the people we need to do jobs that unfortunately the British will not do.”

Meanwhile, Nordstrom’s annual Anniversary Sale is “ready to go,” CEO Erik Nordstrom told Dana Telsey, a retail analyst who runs Telsey Advisory Group, last week.

“We’ve got the products, we’re loaded. We’re going to be full [in our] offering,” he said of the sale starting July 15, making a point of saying that “prices will go back up after the sale is over.”

He’s seeing a “healthy customer” interested in purchasing men’s wear and women’s wear as well as designer footwear, with “no indication” so far that shoppers are settling for budget-friendly brands to make their dollar stretch. The company turned in a strong first quarter when Amazon, Walmart and Target all shocked Wall Street with major misses.

The chain made some operational tweaks to get its ducks in a row, putting orders in earlier than usual and also having goods shipped well ahead of the typical timeframe to be in stock on key sale products.

Back across the pond, JD Sports is facing inventory issues similar to Harrods’.

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The company said Wednesday that revenue for the year ended Jan. 29, 2022 rose 39 percent to 8.56 billion pounds ($10.52 billion) from 6.17 billion pounds ($7.57 billion). Profit before tax more than doubled to 654.7 million pounds ($804.0 million) from 324 million pounds ($397.9 million).

Helen Ashton, interim chair for the British athletic retailer, said JD achieve these results “against a backdrop of a global shortfall in the supply of certain key footwear styles with this supply expected to improve progressively through the remainder of the year.”

JD plans to extend its Finish Line concession shops inside Macy’s for another five years to January 2028, she said. “It is our intention to retain the Finish Line name in these concession stores with a product offer which is more focused on families,” said Ashton, who recently stepped in after former executive chairman and CEO Peter Cowgill stepped down.

Cowgill has been dogged by a series of missteps, locking horns with the U.K.’s antitrust watchdog over a doomed Footasylum deal and getting caught on video with Footasylum counterpart Barry Brown. That tete-a-tete led to a probe into whether he breached corporate governance guidelines.

Ashton said JD has tapped external advisors to review company governance procedures, and is working with American executive search firm Spencer Stuart to identify a new permanent CEO. It’s also looking for a non-executive chair.