Masked staff at Fortnum and Mason signal the future of shopping as world-famous Piccadilly department store reopens its food halls
- The company reopened its London headquarters’ ground floor on Thursday
- It opened from 11am to 7pm and in-store bars and restaurants were shut
- Fortnum plans to open the first floor on May 28 its St Pancras store on May 26
Fortnum and Mason reopened its doors at its Piccadilly flagship venue as staff wore masks and took social distancing measures.
The upmarket London department store opened its main food floors including the basement food hall on Thursday.
It opened from 11am to 7pm and in-store bars and restaurants were shut in line with lockdown rules.
The company plans to open the first floor of the store on May 28 and the second and third floors on June 1.
Fortnum and Mason reopened the foodhalls of its world famous Picadilly department store in London on Thursday as staff wear face masks
Commercial director Lucy Williams told suppliers that the retailer laid out ‘rigorous controls to ensure both our teams’ and our customers’ safety’
Staff also wear personal protective equipment visors as the public are welcomed back into the store
Commercial director Lucy Williams told suppliers that the store laid out ‘rigorous controls to ensure both our teams’ and our customers’ safety’.
It has sent guidelines to suppliers on ensuring health and safety when making deliveries direct to the shop.
Chief executive Ewan Venters celebrated the store’s reopening on Thursday.
He said: ‘We’ve been around for 312 years and we are going nowhere, other than getting back to business and serving our customers better than ever before.’
Fortnum and Mason has sent guidelines to suppliers on ensuring health and safety when making deliveries direct to the shop
A doorman is quizzed by people about his face shield as he stands outside the main entrance of the store
Chief executive Ewan Venters says ‘we’ve been around for 312 years and we are going nowhere, other than getting back to business and serving our customers better than ever before’
The store’s headquarters at 181 Piccadilly was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason.
It also has stores at St Pancras Rail Station, which it says it aims to open on May 26, and Heathrow Airport.
An employee wearing personal protective equipment
The company’s reputation was built on supplying quality food as a grocery store and it saw rapid growth throughout the Victorian era leading to worldwide fame.
William Fortnum was a footman for Queen Anne and convinced his landlord Hugh Mason to open the store with him.
During the Napoleonic Wars it supplied died fruit, spices and other preserves to British officers.
In the Victorian era it was frequently called upon to provide food for prestigious court functions.
The company also claims to have founded the scotch egg in 1738.
Now, the store has several other departments outside of food, as well as restaurants and cafés, which remain closed for the time being.
Its partial reopening comes after Selfridge’s opened its food hall on Oxford Street earlier this month.
Selfridges was one of the first UK retailers to temporarily close its stores before the Government introduced a nationwide lockdown.
Food director Michael Weber said: ‘We are pleased to be reopening the doors to our food hall and to begin serving our local community once again.
‘We are working hard to ensure our customers and our team members are met with a secure and welcoming environment, including a few Selfridges experiences to bring a little brightness to everyone’s day.’
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