ELPHICKS, Farnham’s iconic Victorian department store in West Street, closed its doors this week as part of a £2 million refurbishment designed to attract a new, younger generation of shoppers and cement its reputation as one of Farnham’s “anchor” retailers.
The substantial investment, which includes a 3,000 square foot extension to the rear of the 137-year-old department store, will provide a new “destination” fashion floor and bed department – coming after the closure of Elphick’s Bed Store at 2-3 West Street – as well as “the best lingerie department in Surrey” and, for the first time in Elphick’s history, air conditioning.
With an eye on the imminent redevelopment of The Woolmead and Brightwells, new fashion concessions have been secured with the likes of Hobbs, Superdry and Joules, and a redesigned menswear department will run the entire length of the first floor, including a new formal suit offering and shoes.
Internal walls will be removed and long-forgotten windows uncovered to create a bright and airy first floor, centred around the larger, more contemporary ‘Heidi’s’ restaurant – completed during the first phase of the works in November 2016, together with a larger toy section.
New ceilings and lighting will also be installed to freshen up the interior of the store, which was last refurbished in the early 1990s, and its popular haberdashery and greetings cards departments will be retained.
The refurbishment is on track to be completed this October, and to “clear the decks” for the improvements, Elphick’s closed its doors this week to prepare for a flash sale of £1 million’s worth of stock, beginning with two invite-only sale days on Wednesday and Thursday.
The sale will extend to the general public when the store reopens tomorrow (Friday).
Explaining the changes, Elphick’s Operations & Merchandise Director, Alan Bushnell told the Herald: “We are the main anchor tenant in the town and very much with the development of East Street, we wanted to make sure people knew we are first and foremost a destination department store.
“It’s about attracting all the generations back to Elphick’s and bringing this lovely traditional department store into the 21st century. We want to be here for the next hundred years, and speaking to our customers it appears that is what the local community wants too.”
Sloggi Zero Feel
New – in our Lingerie department.
If underwired bras are like high heels, then sloggi’s Zero Feel collection is everyone’s favourite sneaker, offering infinite comfort for the modern women. With the superb stretchability and maximum comfort it provides, this well-loved Zero Feel Top is a wardrobe essential for your daily busy lifestyle. Exclusively developed 40-guage jersey fabric knitted in Japan.
New Store Development
We are preparing for the arrival of new competitors in the development of East Street and seek to expand and improve our retail and non-selling areas with a three-storey rear extension and refurbishment of retail space to achieve an attractive, crisp contemporary look with improved lighting, displays and service areas.
In early 2016 we started working with award winning architects ‘eleven10 architecture’ to design our new and dramatic extension for our store, making our total retail space 30,000 sq.ft, trading across 2 floors.
Completion of this exciting extension is scheduled to be finished in time for Christmas 2018. With the proposed expansion of retail space Elphicks foresee a need to increase their staff numbers by 10%.
The new development will enable us to reconfigure the layout and offer our suppliers the finest and most spacious retail area available anywhere in the area.
Meanwhile, the small changes you will see is the relocation of our Toy department to the ground floor within the newly extended rear space.
Our Bed Store closed down in October and will be relocated within the ground floor extension in 2018.
Work in progress in our new Toy Department:
Rear of Store:
These plans are subject to change and will be updated.