Selfridges department store sold for £ 4 billion

Selfridges department store in London, April 12, 2021 (Glyn KIRK / AFP / Archives)

Historic British luxury department store chain Selfridges will be acquired by Thai giant Central Group associated with Austria’s Signa, Central Group announced on Friday.

The amount of the transaction is unknown, but in July, the British press estimated that the wealthy Canadian Weston family, who have owned Selfridges since 2003, could earn up to 4 billion pounds (4.7 billion euros).

Selfridges, founded in the UK in the early 20th century, has 25 stores around the world, the most famous and largest of which is located on Oxford Street, London’s main shopping street.

Central Group and real estate group Signa “have entered a final agreement phase for the acquisition of Selfridges Group,” the Thai group said in a statement.

“As family businesses, Central and Signa will focus on providing exceptional and inclusive experiences in store and online, for both local residents and international visitors,” said Tos Chirathivat, Managing Director of Central.

Central is owned by the Chirathivat family, whose fortune stands at $ 11.6 billion according to Forbes, and includes numerous shopping malls, electronics stores and mini-markets throughout the kingdom and in Asia.

In recent years, the group has grown considerably in Europe where it already has, in partnership with Signa, luxury stores in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark.

The Selfridges purchase agreement covers 18 of the 25 stores owned by the Weston family, which retains its 7 Canadian Holt Renfrew stores.

In addition to the prestigious Selfridges on Oxford Street, the deal includes stores in Manchester and Birmingham, as well as the Bijenkorf brands in the Netherlands and Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland.

“Together, we will work with the world’s best architects to sensibly reinvent the stores at each site, transforming these iconic destinations into sustainable, energy-efficient and modern spaces, while remaining true to their architectural and cultural heritage,” said Dieter Berninghaus. President of the Executive Committee of Signa.

Selfridges was recently hit like most UK companies by a drop in sales due to the pandemic, which led it in 2020 to announce the reduction of 450 jobs or 14% of its workforce.

Vince Fernandez

"Professional food trailblazer. Devoted communicator. Friendly writer. Avid problem solver. Tv aficionado. Lifelong social media fanatic."

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