Our heritage 

Selfridges has always been more than a shop. From the start of our journey in 1906, our founder Harry Gordon Selfridge sought to do things differently through extraordinary experiences. 

As Harry Gordon said when he opened our first store, ‘Everyone is welcome’, and to this day these words ring true. Harry was renowned for championing women’s rights, from creating window displays supporting the suffragettes to opening the first toilets for women in a department store. 

Today, we’re working to continue Harry’s legacy in making Selfridges a truly diverse and inclusive environment in which to work and shop – for our teams, our customers and our partners.

Why diversity and inclusion matters

Selfridges is a place where we want everyone to bring their whole selves and feel a sense of belonging. As part of our Project Earth sustainability strategy, we believe being a diverse and inclusive brand is critical to our success. 

We’re working hard to not only increase the visibility and recognition of under-represented talent within our organisation, but the wider industry too. That’s why, we’ve pledged our commitment to initiatives that will support us in driving forward our diversity agenda, including Exceptional Individuals, Diversity in Retail and If Not Now, When.

But if we’re to truly make Selfridges more diverse and inclusive, we know we must start with our team members. That’s why, we established our inaugural Diversity Board in 2020



The events of 2020 saw us come together as a Selfridges community like never before. To build on this momentum and help us to take steps to enable meaningful and positive change for our people, we established our inaugural Diversity Board.

Our 12-strong Diversity Board was elected by fellow team members and is sponsored by a member of our Executive Board on a rolling basis to help drive our aim to shape a more inclusive, diverse and equitable future at Selfridges – and ultimately a better future for all.

After listening and learning from members of the Selfridges team from across all areas of the business, our Diversity Board created a vision focusing on three pillars: Everyone is Welcome, The Yellow Curriculum and Broadening Our Buy.

One year in, we’ve published our first Diversity Board Annual Report 2020-21 – read more about our highlights and hurdles.  



Creating a truly diverse and inclusive Selfridges

To deliver meaningful change for our people, first we need to better understand our demographic data so we can review where we are on our journey and the steps we need to take to become truly inclusive.  That’s why, our Diversity Board’s first action was to launch our Cultural Assessment including a survey and review of our policies, as well as hosting a series of open and honest ‘Everyone is Welcome’ conversations with our teams.


The Quiet Room

Through our Diversity Board’s Everyone is Welcome sessions, we discovered there was a need for a larger quiet room in Selfridges Oxford Street to support religious observation, particularly with the impact of Covid-19 social-distancing measures. For example, to support Muslim team members seeking a space for quiet contemplation and prayer, especially through the holy month of Ramadan. The Board identified a much bigger space that was available, which is now the new quiet room for all team members. 

These conversations resulted in team members feeling more empowered to disclose their protected characteristics, such as gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability and religion in our Cultural Assessment. This year, we saw a 66% disclosure rate around disability compared to 1% in 2020. And our disclosure rate of 94-98% for protected characteristics* is more than double the industry-standard rate of response.   

*Team members choosing to disclose their demographic information 


Transforming behaviours to deliver equal opportunities for teams

Our goal is to transform the behaviours and attitudes within Selfridges, so that we deliver equal and equitable opportunities for minority groups. That’s why we’ve signed up to become a member of Diversity in Retail to support our team members from minority groups to develop and progress into senior roles and to provide access to mentors.  

We want to make Selfridges a safe space for our team members to share their stories and experiences. But we know some of our team members often don’t feel confident enough to speak up, so our Diversity Board kick-started a number of team-led discussions following the global Black Lives Matter protests.


Chat for Change

Following the success of the open Black Lives Matter discussions, the Diversity Board launched a ‘Chat for Change’ initiative covering a wide range of diversity topics from gender pronouns to mental health in the workplace. With over 150 team members taking part so far, the Chat for Change sessions have facilitated new connections and support networks across the business to enable people to feel they can bring their whole selves to work.

Through these discussions, it became clear that our managers required support in addressing Black Lives Matter conversations. As a result, our Diversity Board worked together with our Learning and Development Team and helped to develop extensive inclusive leadership training to equip our managers with the tools they need to have confident, open and honest conversations around equity in our business. Our inclusive leadership training is just the beginning and we plan to build on this with training for all team members.  


Purpose-led partnerships and collaborations to build a diverse network of brands

At Selfridges, we want to do all we can to give Black and minority-owned independent brands a platform to amplify their work.  

Black and minority-owned brands have often voiced how working with big brands can feel like an unreachable goal,  so we’re working with our finance teams to provide more flexible terms to help us forge meaningful relationships with a wider array of brands. This dedicated review of our buy has led to unprecedented support for these brands, with a huge increase in spend across Black-owned brands in menswear and womenswear.   


Two sides of the logo

When we started selling the luxury streetwear label Fear of God’s ‘Negro Baseball League’ sweater, we had feedback from our team members around the language used in the logo. But our Buying team explained the context behind the sweater with the Diversity Board and Fear of God designer Jerry Lorenzo’s historical and personal family connection to the Negro League. As a result, we put in place an action to not only share and celebrate the positive intent with our teams and Diversity Board, but with our customers too.

What’s next?

Following the outcome of our Cultural Assessment, we know we have work to do to increase representation of minority communities at a senior leadership level. We’ll continue working with our partners such as Diversity in Retail to move towards more representation across all levels of our business.  

We are also reviewing our recruitment processes to support equity into management roles and implementing a minimum requirement for diversity representation from our external recruitment partners who support us with leadership recruitment. 

Across our business, we want to go further and enable more minority-owned brands to have a platform. Our Diversity Board and buying teams are committed to championing these brands and helping them to thrive and prosper, as well as working with our longstanding partners to drive positive change together.  

As we continue taking steps towards a more diverse and inclusive future at Selfridges, we’ll keep on sharing our progress through our annual Diversity Board report.  


The past, present and future of sustainability at Selfridges.