Selfridges bought by Thai retailer and Austrian property company in £4bn deal

Business

Selfridges has been bought by a Thai retailer and Austrian property company in a £4bn deal, according to reports.

The luxury department store chain was bought by the Weston family in 2003, who then went on to establish the Selfridges Group in 2010.

But the Selfridges portfolio, which includes 18 sites across England, Ireland and the Netherlands, has now been acquired by the Thai retailer Central Group and Austrian real estate company Signa Holding.

A statement released by the Central Group on Friday said the acquisition will “create one of the world’s leading omni-channel luxury department store groups”.

The two companies’ joint portfolio already includes the department stores Rinascente in Italy, Globus in Switzerland, Illum in Denmark and the KaDeWe group across Germany and Austria.

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The Central Group opened the first department store in Thailand’s history in 1956, which has now expanded to 3,700 others around the world.

Signa Holding was established in 2000 and is Austria’s largest privately-owned real estate company.

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The joint venture can now add Selfridge’s flagship Oxford Street store to its portfolio, as well as two in Manchester and one in Birmingham’s Bullring.

The original London store was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1908.

Selfridges Group chairman – W Galen Weston’s surviving daughter – Alannah Weston said the sale was “testament to the successful realisation of my father’s vision for an iconic group of beautiful, truly experiential department stores”.

“I am proud to pass the baton to the new owners who are family businesses that take a long-term view,” she said.

“I know they will fully embrace that vision and continue to empower our incredible team to take the Group from strength to strength.”

Central Group chief executive Tos Chirathivat said it was a “privilege” to make the deal.

“As family businesses, Central and Signa will focus on delivering exceptional and inclusive store and digital experiences for both local residents and overseas visitors alike, to ensure we can give all the stores in Selfridges Group a bright future for the next 100 years,” he said.

While Signa’s executive board chairman Dieter Berninghaus added: “We plan to fulfil the vision of the late Galen Weston to deliver his masterplan and create a high-quality experience retailing environment for our customers and brand partners.”

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