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Iconic retailer Selfridges sold to Thai and Austrian joint venture

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Selfridges via Pexels

The Canadian billionaire family behind the revamp of Selfridges have sold the iconic department store to a Thai and Austrian joint venture. The Weston family sold the British store chain to Thai conglomerate Central Group and Austrian Signa Holding, who each own 50 percent.

The group’s other retail division, which includes Arnotts and Brown Thomas in Ireland and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands were included in the deal. Holt Refrew, the high-end Canadian department store chain, will remain under Weston ownership.

Value of the sale not disclosed

The sale, confirmed by Bloomberg early on Friday, is thought to be valued at 4 billion pounds, although terms of the sale were not disclosed. Galen Weston bought the Oxford street flagship in 2003 for 600 million pounds.

The Central Group is Thailand’s largest retail operator, owned by the wealthy Chirathivat family. The Group’s international portfolio includes Italy’s Rinascente, Denmark’s Illum, Germany’s KaDeWe and Globus in Switzerland. The latter two are owned in partnership with Signa.

Signa, a retail, real estate and media group, has assets in New York’s Art Deco Chrysler Building and Hotel Bauer in Venice. The company’s global real estate assets are valued at over 24 billion euros said the Financial Times.

Selfridges, which outright owns the properties of its UK stores, remains one of London’s most sought after fashion destinations, a temple of experiential retailing that many have tried, and failed, to copy.

“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, as we seek to create a world-leading luxury, retail company,” said Tos Chirathivat, executive chair and chief executive of Central Group in a statement.

Selfridges was founded in 1908 by American businessman Harry Gordon Selfridge. His story was filmed for a television miniseries in 2016 called Mr Selfridge.

The Selfridge Group currently operates 28 stores worldwide. Changes in management have not been announced.

Central Group
Signa Holding