Pupils visited Fortnum & Mason, one of the world’s most prestigious stores on 17th March, to find out more about managing a high-end retailer, catering for some of the world’s most discerning clients.
Fortnum & Mason at 181 Piccadilly, London, was founded in 1707 by Thomas Fortnum (who was a member of Queen Anne’s royal household), and Hugh Mason. Beginning as a grocery store, Fortnum & Mason’s reputation was built on supplying quality food to the aristocracy, and saw rapid growth throughout the Victorian era. While the store ultimately developed into a luxury department store, today it holds a Royal Warrant and continues to focus on exotic and speciality food.
Although rich in a long tradition, it soon became clear that while wishing to preserve this, Fortnum’s were very keen to put the store at the forefront of 21st century retailing, particularly in relation to on-line commerce and the need to be constantly innovating.
A guided tour of all five floors of the store was led by Fortnum’s Historian, Dr Andrea Tanner. After lunch in the Board Room, Fortnum’s CEO, Tom Athron talked to pupils about his job and the direction he planned to take the store in the future, before fielding questions.