Fenwick (department store)

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Fenwick Limited
Type Private company
Industry Retail
Genre Department store
Founded 1882
Founder(s) John James Fenwick
Headquarters Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Number of locations 11
Key people Mark Fenwick (Chairman)
Owner(s) Fenwick family
Subsidiaries Bentalls
Williams & Griffin
Website www.fenwick.co.uk

Fenwick is an independent chain of department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1882 by John James Fenwick in Newcastle upon Tyne, and today consists of 11 branches.

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.[1]

History[edit]

Fenwick store in Market Street, Leicester

.

The store's founder, John James Fenwick, was born in Richmond, North Yorkshire in 1846.[2] 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.[3] 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 1891 it opened a branch in Bond Street, London.[4] This store was later doubled in size in 1980.

The company bought the Joseph Johnson store in Leicester in 1962. This store was subsequently re-branded as Fenwick.

Fenwick was the anchor department store for the 1976 opening of Brent Cross shopping centre in London, which was the first large enclosed shopping centre in the UK.[5]

Outlets in Windsor and York followed in 1980 and 1984 respectively, but offer a limited range of departments, specialising in clothing, fashion accessories and cosmetics as the focus of their range.

The Ricemans store in Canterbury was acquired in 1986, and was replaced and re-branded 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.[6] 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.

In 2007 the group further expanded by purchasing Williams & Griffin, a well regarded independent department store, in Colchester, Essex.

Current operations[edit]

Main entrance to the Newcastle store on Northumberland Street.

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.

Fenwick Newcastle[edit]

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.[7] 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[edit]

Pronunciation of name[edit]

The pronunciation of 'Fenwick' is 'Fennick', with a silent 'w'.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wearmouth, Rachel. "Mike Ashley is North East's richest after £500m boost in fortune". The Chronicle (ncj Media Ltd). Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  2. ^ http://www.richmondshiremuseum.org.uk/exhibits.html
  3. ^ "Fenwick - A history". 
  4. ^ Anne Pimlott Baker, ‘Fenwick family (per. 1882–1979)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 29 April 2011
  5. ^ "Brent Cross History". 
  6. ^ http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1552372/Fenwick-buys-Bentalls-in-16370m-deal.html
  7. ^ Butcher, Joanne (2 November 2011). "Kids flock to Fenwick Christmas window display". The Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Fenwick (department store) at Wikimedia Commons