As many European stores did, Harvey Nichols began as something far simpler and smaller than what it has become today. Benjamin Harvey opened a little linen shop in 1831 in London. Four years later, it expanded into the next shop over, and continued to do so until it had taken over the whole block between Sloan and Seville Streets. By this time, Benjamin’s son was the owner of the firm, his father, mother, and the former partner James Nichols having passed away several years before. The building went through a redesign period in the late 1890s, and over the next few decades established Harvey Nichols’ reputation as a classy establishment. A restaurant opened on the fifth floor, and it was a huge success as the shopping industry began to move towards department store designs of offering variety instead of a single department.
Four floors of the six-floor building were used for fashion and apparel, the basement was dedicated to teenagers, and the upper floor remained the restaurant. Harvey Nichols has had a number of famous patrons throughout its history, including Princess Diana who frequented both the store and the restaurant. Because of its popularity, Harvey began extending the restaurant hours past the store’s closure, offering a late night lifestyle that all its customers enjoyed.
Harvey Nichol’s reputation of high-fashion and cutting-edge designer brands has existed since its inception, and today that reputation is compounded with award-winning restaurants and is steadily spreading over the globe. Four large-format stores are placed in London, Leeds, Manchester, and Edinburg, with three smaller-format stores in Bristol, Dublin, and Birmingham. There are seven large-format stores across the sea, too. One in Dubai, two in Hong Kong, two in Turkey, one in Riyadh, and one in Kuwait. The two newest additions to the chain are the new beauty concept in Liverpool, opened in late 2012, and the Harvey Nichols store opened in Azerbaijan last summer.
“The club that doesn’t require a membership.” That is how Harvey Nichols consider themselves, and it is easy to see why. With the level of fashion they sport and the high-quality “champagne lifestyle” they give their customers with their late night restaurant, they really are the place to be, whether in London or in any of their other locations around the world.