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Thu 30 Jan 2014 06:06 PM

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Qatar owners to shut famous Harrods pet store

During 100-year history, the Pet Kingdom sold exotic pets such as lions, elephants and alligators

Qatar owners to shut famous Harrods pet store
Qatar Holding will be the fifth owner of Harrods since its creation in 1840. (Reuters/ Bloomberg Images)

The pet store at luxury London depart store Harrods, which was opened nearly 100 years ago and famously sold everything from lion to elephants and alligators, is to be closed by its Qatari owners to make way for an extended womenswear department, it has been confirmed.

The Pet Kingdom was opened in 1917 and gained notoriety in London for its exotic pets on offer. Canadian actress Beatrice Lillie reportedly purchased an alligator as a present for playwright Noël Coward for Christmas in 1951 and President Ronald Reagan is believed to have once enquired about buying elephants for a Republican Party rally.

Following the 1976 UK Endangered Species Act, it was restricted to only domestic pets such as dogs and cats were of offer. After nearly 100 years in operation, the store’s new Qatari owners have decided to shut the famous Harrods department permanently on Friday, sources confirmed, with the livestock having already been removed two weeks ago.

“It’s a great shame, it’s a London institution and an amazing place to go. Lots of my friends still take their children there and they love it,” Anna Richmond-Dodd, who bought a French bulldog called Max from the store three years ago, was quoted as saying by The Telegraph newspaper.

A spokesman for Harrods confirmed the “Pet Kingdom department will close to make way for further exciting planned developments in our womenswear offering.”

Qatar Holding bought the Knightsbridge store in 2010 for a reported £1.5bn ($2.4bn) from Mohamed al-Fayed.

Up until last year, Harrods’ new owners had spent £107.8m ($174m) upgrading the store.

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definefreedom 6 years ago

Petstores are a jail for animals.....they are not meant to be locked up in cages waiting to be sold as a commodity, animals are also living, breathing sentient beings !

Jones 6 years ago

And yet the appalling pet souq where animals are kept in tiny cages, without adequate water, left to rot in their own faeces, in blistering heat at Souq Waqif remains.

Michelle 6 years ago

I don't like any pet store much-they make me sad . These days, the reality is that it is bad business to utilize the most expensive retail space in the world to sell ordinary pets or to serve as a visiting zoo for the public.

As to Souq Waqif-I have been there and I did not see animals in such conditions as described above. I did see birds dyed horribly unnatural colors for the Easter season and thought it sad.

Souq Waqif is not the most expensive retail space in Qatar, and the souq is used by dozens of vendors in the animal area alone. Qatar Holdings are not shutting down other businesses, just their own.