I LOVE this series. While Mr. Selfridge cannot take credit for inventing the modern department store, he WAS responsible for introducing an American style department store to London. He introduced window displays and the concept of merchandise on display throughout the store. Unlike the stodgy British retailers at the time, he invited customers to look, to imagine, to browse, and to feel and handle the merchandise.
In the days before television, video games, the internet and all of the technological advantages that we take for granted today, Mr. Selfridge understood the value of showmanship. His department store including an auditorium for guest speakers. He sensationalized many of the important events of the period such as having the first man to fly across the English channel appear in his store. He had world renown Freda Whittaker skate on a roof-top rink. He had Wimbledon champion Suzanne Lenglen demonstrate her serve on a rooftop court.
To battle the aroma of horse manure which was an unfortunate reality of the time, he put a cosmetics counter in the front of his store. Not only did he help pioneer selling cosmetics to ladies but by having the cosmetics counter in the front of the story, the sprayed perfume helped to mask the odor of the horse manure that some customers inadvertently brought in from having walked in the city streets.
Mr. Selfridge was a great lover of gadgets. He sold telephones, refrigerators, and ice making machines. He demonstrated the first television sets in London back in 1925. He enticed so many people to his store through lectures, theatrics, demonstrations, displays, sales events, food service, and other attractions that at one point he was able to proudly boast that Selfridge's was the THIRD largest tourist attraction in London after Buckingham Palace and the Tower.
Watching this series is like having a window into time.