Unexpected High-End Retail Experience

I was in the UK in the recent past, and as one of several tourist things to do, went to visit Harrod's department store. When I found myself on the electronics floor, I came across a number of high-end systems on display. First up was a pair of the exotic new KEF super speakers - only 100 pairs to be made, retail for 70,000 GBP. They had them hooked up and playing music, very softly, but not in any sort of way you could audition them.

They also had several other high-end, if not quite as exotic, set-ups. They had a whole Chord stack of electronics, as well as several systems based on tube amps and preamps. All were on display at full retail, and none were in any sort of setup that could be auditioned - just looked at.

What sort of success rate does a place like Harrod's have selling multi-thousand dollar (or pounds) systems at full retail by just putting them out to display like this? I didn't have the time or interest to try to get a sales person engaged long enough to see if they have some sort of value-add, or how much they knew about what was on display.

In any case, I definitely wasn't expecting to come across gear of that caliber at a department store, even if it is one of the most famous department stores in the world.
Harrod's does have some great gear, and they do have some listening rooms. England does have a VAT of ~17%, so you get most of that back, and before the dollar tanked (I believe the pound is over $2 now) when things were on sale with the VAT back they were pretty good deals.

As for the salespeople, you should have taken the time! Harrod's has some of the most knowledgeable sales people in every department, I bet they would have impressed you!

As for sales? You must remember Harrod's is famous the world over, and I suspect they do sell a fair amount of gear all over the world.
I have visited the Harrod's electronics too and was also impressed and disappointed in a similar manner. But I think they sell the equipment when a rich person come through and waves his hand in the direction of what he wants to buy. Voila! Entire system sold in 10 seconds as the buyer then goes off waving his hand in other rooms. Rules change with money level and at Harrod's, you're expected to make a spectacle of it. :)

I love that places like Harrod's exist. Especially in this day of big box retailers. I really miss some of the nice departments stores that have been driven under. You pay more at places like these but somehow the item seems much more special.

Have you been to Harrod's??

Pay more! I can barely afford to eat there and the wife and I make a really good income! Last time I was in London (May 2007) I spent over $1,000 in 36 hours and that was without shopping! When I asked Harrod's about duvet's, the one the guy recommended was $10K for a King sized bed!!! Now I love my bed and I really like duvet's, but I can buy a lot with $10K!

While I absolutely adore Harrod's, I don't buy much there, I think last time I bought my Great Dane a Harrod's dog collar, and we had some oysters and wine... Oh, and some Cuban cigars, the only place I've found that has better cared for Cubans is in Amsterdam but that's another story....

When you go, you MUST go to the bathrooms there! Sounds silly, and they aren't quite as spectacular as they used to be as they are free now, but they are a true 10 in the bathroom department!

I have been there. It's an amazing place! The archetecture, the range of goods, the service, all top notch. I ate lunch there with my family a couple of times and bought an old fashioned coffee grinder. Even thought it was a small purchase, they wrapped it up beautifully and treated me very nicely. I would LOVE to be in a financial position to shop there regularly. Of course that would mean either moving to London or also being able to fly there regularly :-)

I take it that you're a Londoner. If so, I'm envious!
No, just love the city!