Selfridges department store in London, April 12, 2021 Glyn KIRK
The historic British chain of luxury department stores Selfridges will be acquired by the Thai giant Central Group associated with the Austrian Signa, announced Friday Central Group.
The amount of the transaction is not known, but in July, the British press estimated that the wealthy Canadian Weston family, owners of Selfridges since 2003, could make up to 4 billion pounds (4.7 billion euros).
Selfridges, founded in the UK at the turn of the 20th century, has 25 stores around the world, the most famous and largest of which is on Oxford Street, London’s most important shopping thoroughfare.
Central Group and the Signa real estate group “have entered into a final agreement phase for the acquisition of Selfridges Group,” the Thai group said in a statement.
“As family-owned businesses, Central and Signa will focus on providing exceptional and inclusive experiences in store and online, both for 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 malls, electronics stores and mini markets across 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 buyout deal 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 greatest architects to sensitively reimagine 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 said Dieter Berninghaus, Chairman of the Executive Board of Signa.
Selfridges was recently affected like most businesses in the United Kingdom by a drop in sales due to the pandemic, which led it in 2020 to announce the cut of 450 jobs or 14% of its workforce.