10 of the World's Most Luxurious Department Stores
To the fervent shopper, a department store is more than just a store. It's an institution, one that houses a collective of fashion, food, and specialty items. Department stores themselves have recognized this, banking on this passion by dedicating entire floors to exhibiting art, adding entertainment areas and spacious gardens, and continually revolutionizing the luxury shopping experience.
Whether you're looking for a bespoke shopping experience or a well-curated selection of fashion items, these high end retail stores have them all. Here, we've listed down the most expensive department stores in the world.
1. Barneys New York
Founded in 1923 as a suit store, Barneys has become a New York shopping destination. The department store has since expanded into a luxury chain with 24 boutique and warehouse stores in the United States, as well as 12 licensed stores in Japan. Barneys is home to Freds, an iconic restaurant named after the founder’s son.
2. Bergdorf Goodman
Bergdorf has long been a symbol of elegance, impeccable service, and exquisite luxury fashion. The department store stocks a mix of upscale designer brands and contemporary names. A restaurant, café, several bars, and the John Barrett Salon are nestled in the iconic luxury shopping destination. So iconic is the store that in 2013, a documentary titled Scatter My Ashes In Bergdorf was released.
Daslu’s humble beginnings started in 1958, when high society jet-setter Lucia Tranchesi would bring her fashion finds back to São Paulo. She would then invite close friends to her home to buy, countering Brazil’s import ban. Overtime, her small business grew and she expanded by buying the house next door, hiring the daughters of her friends to help due to their similar tastes and knowledge in fashion. Eliana, her daughter took over the reins in the '80s and brought in international designers Valentino, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Zegna and Dolce & Gabbana. One of South America’s top fashion stores, Daslu is equipped with a helipad to accommodate customers from neighboring countries.
4. Galeries LaFayette
Founded in 1895, Galeries LaFayette is considered the most stunning department store in the world. Aside from being a shopper’s paradise, it is a structural marvel. The glass dome, golden Art Nouveau interiors, and an abundance of balconies make it a tourist destination. Galeries LaFayette offers exclusive services such as style consultation, beauty treatments, skin and hair care, butler services, and express alterations.
Harrods was founded in 1834 by Charles Henry Harrod, and since 2010 it is owned by Qatar Holdings. The store boasts a 90,000 square meter floor space all devoted to retail and food. The store is perhaps most known for its luxury food hall: from gorgeous meat and seafood to popular chocolates and desserts. An Egyptian-themed escalator valued at $39 million stands in the middle of the store, attracting tourists and shoppers alike.
6. Henri Bendel
Established in 1895, Bendel's is an upscale department store catered towards women. Declared a New York landmark in the 1990s, the specialty store features Lalique windows, a grand staircase, high ceilings, and marble floors. The flagship store sells jewelry, accessories, home fragrances, gifts and an in-house line of handbags.
7. Kaufhaus des Westens
First opened in 1907, Kaufhaus des Westens, shortened to KaDeWe is the largest department store in mainland Europe. The 645,834 square feet retail space welcomes an estimated 180,000 shoppers each day. KaDeWe is home to one of the largest food halls in the world with 35,000 different products and 30 gourmet bars supplying prepared food by over 150 chefs.
8. La Rinascente
Made up of six floors, La Rinascente houses a healthy mix of local designers, international labels, and fashion newcomers. The Thai-owned Italian department store was founded in 1917 by Senatore Borletti. Today, the company owns 11 chain stores in Rome, Milan, Genoa, Turin, Florence, Palermo, Catania, Cagliari, Padova, and Monza. Visit La Rinascente’s basement for its “Made In Italy” design shop, where souvenir items are stocked.
While Selfridges is one of Oxford Street's popular landmarks, it was actually founded by an American—Harry Selfridge from Wisconsin. The luxury store is famous for its intricate windows and artistic displays. Selfridges was a pioneer in bargain basements and sales, catering to both the masses and wealthy. In 2013, Harry Gordon Selfridge was brought back to life in the television show Mr Selfridge proving his lasting impact.
Takashimaya started out as a kimono shop, a far cry from today’s flagship, an eight-floor fashion mecca. The luxury chain has more than 20 stores in Japan and has expanded to joint ventures in Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, and China.