Raj Assanand, Business Development Director at Knightsbridge department store Harrods, originally joined the business as a seasonal member of retail staff ahead of Christmas 1975. Over his 43 years of service at Harrods, Raj has risen through the organisation, from his original role on the shop floor to the buying team, and later to a General Merchandising Manager, where he headed up the commercial side of a key area of the business.
In his current role of Business Development Director, Raj is responsible for Harrods airport stores, international wholesale offerings, and the store’s ‘Signature’ range, a collection of Harrods branded product, amongst other senior business responsibilities.
The Harrods stores at the UK’s leading international airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, act as touch points for visitors arriving and departing the UK, and follow the retail experience available at the Knightsbridge store. In October 2017, Harrods opened a reconfigured luxury fashion store at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. The airport retail concept harks back to Knightsbridge, in terms of architecture, finishes and customer experience.
In recent years Harrods has thrived as a global luxury retail destination through adapting its proposition to cater for the needs of increasingly international customers. As well as ensuring the store is a diverse and multi-lingual destination, the business has ensured that international payment methods are available throughout the store. For Chinese customers, for instance, digital payment methods are integral. As such, in 2010, Harrods was the first British retailer to launch Union Pay, followed by Alipay in 2016, and WeChat Pay in 2018.