Fenwick (department store)
|Founder||John James Fenwick|
Number of locations
|Mark Fenwick (Chairman)|
Williams & Griffin
As of 2012, the chain is still owned by the Fenwick family and the company is chaired by Mark Fenwick. The company is reported to be valued at £452million.
The store's founder, John James Fenwick, was born in Richmond, North Yorkshire in 1846. The original store was opened in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1882 and sold only mantles, silk goods, dresses, fabrics and trimmings and did not broaden into a department store until John's eldest son Fred Fenwick joined the business in 1890. Fred had trained in retail in Paris and is said to have been inspired by Le Bon Marché, which is regarded as one of the first ever department stores.
Fenwick has since expanded its operations. In 1881 it opened a store in Sunderland, however this closed within the year. In 1891 it opened a branch in Bond Street, London. This store was later doubled in size in 1980.
The company bought the Joseph Johnson store in Leicester in 1962. This store was subsequently rebranded as Fenwick.
The Ricemans store in Canterbury was acquired in 1986, and was rebranded as Fenwick in 2003.
The Tunbridge Wells store opened in 1992.
Fenwick acquired the Bentalls group for £70.8 million during 2001 which at that time comprised six department stores, in: Bracknell, Ealing, Kingston upon Thames, Lakeside, Tonbridge and Worthing. The Lakeside store was closed, and three branches (in Ealing, Tonbridge and Worthing) were subsequently sold to J E Beale, with Fenwick retaining only two of the stores, in Kingston upon Thames and Bracknell.
Fenwick has its headquarters at the original Fenwick department store in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, one of the largest department stores in the UK. It currently operates 11 outlets across England.
The Newcastle store is the original store in the chain and is famous locally for its Christmas window display which in 2011 held its 40th anniversary. The store has expanded since its original launch in 1882 and now has a layout made up of several interconnected buildings with entrances onto Northumberland Street, the main shopping street in Newcastle, Eldon Square, Monument Metro Station and Blackett Street.
It is widely viewed as one of the most luxurious department stores in the UK, specialising in a wide range of luxury products, as well as the famous 'Wine Shop' which has one of the largest selection of wines and spirits in the North East.
But the store is most famous for its extravagant windows, filled with detailed sets and sophisticated moving figures, which appears every Christmas and almost rivals the windows in Liberty's. The themes are taken mainly from fairy tales and children's stories. The figures move and are accompanied by music.
In 2008, the Sunday Times Rich List revealed that Fenwick Newcastle was the single most profitable branch of any department store chain in the United Kingdom with assets totalling in excess of £330 million.
Department store locations
- Bond Street, London
- Bracknell, Bentalls (acquired in 2001)
- Brent Cross, London
- Canterbury (2003 replacement for the Ricemans store acquired in 1986)
- Colchester, Williams & Griffin (acquired in 2007)
- Kingston upon Thames, Bentalls (acquired in 2001)
- Leicester (formerly Joseph Johnson, acquired in 1962)
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- Tunbridge Wells
Pronunciation of name
The pronunciation of 'Fenwick' is 'Fennick' with a silent 'w'.
- Wearmouth, Rachel. "Mike Ashley is North East's richest after £500m boost in fortune". The Chronicle (ncj Media Ltd). Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Fenwick - A history".
- "Victoria County History" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2014.
- Anne Pimlott Baker, ‘Fenwick family (per. 1882–1979)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 29 April 2011
- "Brent Cross History".
- "Fenwick buys Bentalls in £70m deal". This is Money. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
- Butcher, Joanne (2 November 2011). "Kids flock to Fenwick Christmas window display". The Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
Media related to Fenwick (department store) at Wikimedia Commons