It’s seems that the shoe department is the place to make a statement if you’re a department store. As a customer it’s one of the best departments because ‘the shoe always fits’. But more than that shoes have moved from ‘accessories’ – a way to complete an outfit to ‘statements’  (like ‘it’ bags).

So following suit, next week Harrods will join Saks, Selfridges and the rest with their very own 42,000 sqft of department called ‘shoe heaven’. It will be 3 times the size of the current department and  about 7,000 sqft bigger than Selfridges shoe department.

Rendering of Harrods' 'Shoe Heaven'

The space will be a mix of concessions (17 boutiques – with the usual LVMH staples as well as Louboutin, and Blahnik). In all honesty Harrods are about 3 years late to the party, even so they’ve invested heavily in the project. To quote the Director of Womenswear , Helen David, ‘it’s the biggest project we have ever done at Harrods in terms of capital expenditure’. (Unfortunately, there’s no clear Capex figure available).

While we’re on the topic of shoes we thought it would be worthwhile putting this in perspective with a Dubai store called, Level Shoe District. We think Level Shoe District has hit upon something Harrods maybe has not.

Level Shoe District

This is the biggest (luxury) shoe store in the world at 96,000 sqft. It currently stocks 300 brands with 40 stand alone concessions. In 2013 they were reported to be selling 600 shoes a day (they are aiming 1,000) with 12 million visitors in it’s first year.

What’s interesting about this concept (that we haven’t seen in Harrods) is the addition of services.

The store features a ‘sole lounge’ which is a 1,400 sqft ‘foot spa’; a Vogue Café (venture with the Conde Nast); a cobbler to repair shoes; personal stylists; as well as a concierge service who will show you around the store, look after your purchases (while you continue to shop elsewhere) and even charge your phone.

Level Shoe District services (from left) Vogue Cafe, Personal Styling Room and Food Spa

These services add extra reasons to return to this destination (beyond just a shoe purchase). We think there’s something to learn here (especially when you’re late to market like Harrods).