Whether it s for you or someone else, shopping offers a therapy unlike any other. You feel good if you ve bought yourself something and better if you ve bought for somebody else. With that in mind, why not start to plan your next shopping trip, perhaps to somewhere a little more exotic than the local High Street.
First stop, New York
Macy’s was founded by Rowland Hussey Macy, an ex-whale boat sailor and grain store operator, in 1858, on making some money in Massachusetts he moved to New York where he intended to make his fortune. On the company’s first day of business in October 1858 sales totaled $11.08, equal to $279.82 today. But despite this Macy s has grown to be one of the largest department stores in the United States.
Macys owns several other famous department stores including Bloomingdales; and organises the famous Thanksgiving Day parade through the streets of New York City, and an Independence Day Firework Display.
Barney s is an up-market fashion house, selling high quality goods from a range of US and international designers from Ralph Lauren and Diane Von Furstenberg to Dries Van Noten. In recent years certain Barney s stores across the US have closed due to economic concerns; however its flagship New York store still trades well.
Something for the kids? FAO Schwarz is the oldest toy store in the United States, with its flagship store on 5th Avenue. This store is a child s delight and where the famous giant piano scene in the film ‘Big (with Tom Hanks) was shot.
Next Stop, London
Harrods is London s most famous department store located on The Brompton Road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and frequented with such high calibre clientele as the local royal family.
The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique—All Things for All People, Everywhere, this isn t necessarily true as Harrods tends to stock high quality but expensive goods. It has a range of different departments and the Food Hall is world famous, with its range of cuisine from shucked oysters to Belgium chocolates.
Mohamed Al-Fayed was its eccentric owner until quite recently when he sold the store to Qatar Holdings for £1.5 billion. Known for it s extravagance, in 2007 Harrods hired a live Egyptian cobra to protect the shoe counter, guarding a £62,000 pair ruby-, sapphire- and diamond-encrusted sandals.
And finally, Paris
Le Bon Marché can be literally translated to the ‘Good Market and is one of the most famous department stores in Paris. It sells a range of goods over 10 floors from clothing and cosmetics, to home wear and electrical items. Almost anything can be bought in Le Bon Marche.
Galleries La Fayette is an exclusive department store in the 9th arrondissement in Paris. It is easily recognised by its structure, a glass and steel dome.
Art Nouveau staircases further added to its character when they were built in 1912. There are other Galleries La Fayette across the world, but the flagship store remains eponymous with French fashion.