Selfridges Sold to Thailand’s Central Group and Austria’s Signa in $5 Billion Deal

LONDON – Thailand’s Central Group has teamed with Signa in Austria to buy Selfridges Group under a 50/50 partnership.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but sources said that the deal values the department store group at around 4 billion pounds, approximately $5 billion per current exchange rates.

The deal includes the Selfridges Group’s portfolio comprises 18 department stores, including Selfridges in London, Manchester and Birmingham, de Bijenkorf in Netherlands, Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland, their associated e-commerce platforms and the properties in London, Manchester and five locations in Ireland.

The transaction will see Selfridges Group become part of the combined Central and Signa portfolio of luxury department stores, which includes Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Globus in Switzerland, and The KaDeWe Group, which operates in Germany and Austria from 2024. The annual turnover for the combined department stores portfolio was 5 billion euros in 2019 and is projected to grow to more than 7 billion euros by 2024.

Central and Signa will operate all the stores in Selfridges Group. They will continue to be run by the existing leadership teams, as well as their e-commerce platforms and operating companies.

The Canadian business, Holt Renfrew, will remain with the Weston family.

Tos Chirathivat, executive chairman and CEO of Central Group said “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.”

Dieter Berninghaus, chairman of the executive board of Signa, said: “Together we will work with the world’s leading architects to sensitively reimagine the stores in each location, transforming these iconic destinations into sustainable, energy-efficient, modern spaces, whilst staying true to their architectural and cultural heritage. We plan to fulfill the vision of the late Galen Weston to deliver his master plan and create a high-quality experience retailing environment for our customers and brand partners.”

Alannah Weston, chairman of Selfridges Group, said: “The acquisition of Selfridges Group by Central and Signa is testament to the successful realization of my father’s vision for an iconic group of beautiful, truly experiential, department stores. Creative thinking has been at the heart of everything we did together for nearly twenty years and sustainability is deeply embedded in the business. I am proud to pass the baton to the new owners who are family businesses that take a long-term view. I know they will fully embrace that vision and continue to empower our incredible team to take the Group from strength to strength.”

Anne Pitcher, global managing director of Selfridges Group, said: “We are joining an impressive group of leading luxury department stores across Europe presenting a fantastic opportunity for the business and reinforcing our leading status and position in global retail.”

Central Group and Signa had been tipped as the frontrunners in the British press and have teamed before on big retail deals before, notably buying the Swiss department store chain Globus, and KaDeWe in Berlin.

Central is controlled by the Chirathivat family, and operates retail businesses in Thailand and Vietnam, as well as Europe. Its holdings include Rinascente in Italy; Illum in Denmark, and KaDeWe, Oberpollinger and Alsterhaus in Germany.

In the past, the company has made no secret of its intentions to expand through acquisitions in Europe and Asia, and said it has little interest in the U.S. market.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com. The 20 Best Walking Shoes for Women in 2022 WWD.com.

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