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Major chance for WA food

WA FOOD and beverage producers will soon have a huge chance to break into the UK market.

For 14 days, beginning in the last week of September, British department store giant Selfridges will turn the foodhalls in its London Oxford Street store and its new Manchester outlet over to WA food and beverage producers.

Each day about 44,000 people go through its Oxford Street store and about 20,000 people through its Manchester one.

The menu and winelists in all of Selfridges’ 20 restaurants will comprise solely of WA food and wine for the 14 days.

Selfridges’ staff alone buy about 7,000 meals each day in the Oxford Street restaurants.

Banners will be hung throughout the stores with the slogan — WA: the Land of Plenty.

And the store has turned four of its Oxford Street windows to the promotion for three weeks.

It usually costs between $50,000 and $70,000 to rent one of the windows for a week.

WA food and beverage producers have an opportunity to write editorial about the promotion in Selfridges’ catalogue which is sent to its 80,000 credit card customers every month.

WA agent general Clive Griffiths helped broker the deal with Selfridges.

He said the store was looking to make the 14 day promotion a lead in to a “relationship with WA as an ongoing supplier of top quality food and beverages”.

“Add up all that Selfridges is giving us and that’s worth $2 million in advertising in London alone. That’s not counting the exposure we’ll have in Manchester,” Mr Griffiths said.

“They’ve never had a food and beverage promotion like this in the UK.

Mr Griffiths said while the opportunity was great, WA producers had to come up with the goods.

“We have to give pretty firm assurances that we can maintain the stock for the 20 restaurants and two foodhalls for the 14 days,” he said.

“Another obligation we have is to take WA chefs to show how to cook lamb and lobsters and prepare WA menus. And we’ll need WA wine experts.

“We also have to get some celebrities for the promotion. I’m thinking perhaps cricketers. I’ll also be approaching WA-born celebrities living in London.

“Selfridges also wants us to run competitions with prizes such as flights to, and accommodation in WA. It will probably cost us about $200,000.

“My feeling is the industry bodies benefiting from this promotion should meet the costs for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Mr Griffiths is also discussing the possibility of including other products such as clothing and jewellery.

There is also a requirement to have as many WA people there as possible “just to talk to the customers”.

He said other Australian states were quite envious of WA’s coup.

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