Supermarkets Brown Thomas and Arnotts will be sold as part of a deal that will see the parent company, Selfridges Group, bought by a Thai retailer and an Austrian real estate firm for what a source close to the matter said was about 4.7 billion euros.
Thailand’s Central Group and Austrian property firm Cigna, which already jointly own department stores across Europe, said they had struck a deal for a chain best known for its Oxford Street department store in London.
The Canadian wing of the billionaire family of Weston bought Selfridges for nearly £600 million in 2003, and formed the Selfridges Group in 2010, bringing their five store brands under one group.
The Central Group, owned by the family of billionaire Chirathivat, and Austrian investor Rene Benko’s Signa has department stores in Germany, Italy, Denmark and Switzerland.
Founded in 1908, the Selfridges Group employs 10,000 people and owns 25 stores worldwide, including major cities in England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.
Signa and Central will acquire 18 of the 25 stores, and hope to build a luxury hotel alongside Oxford Street flagships, the source said, adding that seven stores in Canada were not part of the package.
In Ireland, the Selfridges Group owns Brown Thomas stores in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Arrontes on Henry Street in Dublin.
It is also developing an outlet in the capital’s Dundrum Town Center which is due to open next year.
With Selfridges, they hope to build a luxury department store empire, complemented by an online business.
Under the plan, they intend to increase consolidated sales to €8 billion by 2024 – including more than €1 billion online – from around €5 billion now.
The source said the group would be managed from a holding company in London, with a possible listing on the stock exchange eventually, although local management of stores in other countries would remain.
“The acquisition of Selfridges Group by Central and Signa is testament to the successful realization of my father’s vision for an iconic collection of truly beautiful and experimental stores,” said Alana Weston, President of Selfridges Group.
« Creative thinking has been at the heart of everything we have done together for nearly twenty years, and sustainability is deeply ingrained in the business. I am proud to pass the baton on to the new owners who are family businesses with a long-term vision. »
“I know they will fully embrace this vision and continue to empower our amazing team to take the group from strength to strength.”
Central opened its first department store in 1956, and has grown to become the largest mall owner in Thailand with around 2,400 retail stores.
It has an e-commerce joint venture with China’s JD.com and stakes in Grab Holdings in Southeast Asia.
Central has been in Europe since 2011 when it bought luxury Italian supermarket chain La Rinascente SpA for €205 million.
In 2013 it also acquired Illum, Denmark’s oldest department store.
In 2015, Central bought Signa a majority stake in three luxury department stores in Germany.
Last year, Central and Signa jointly bought Swiss luxury store Globus and other assets for more than 1 billion Swiss francs.
Central and Signa have also teamed up with Japanese retail giant Aeon Co to develop an e-commerce platform for one of the world’s fastest growing online sports retail markets.
Benko has made a name for himself as a real estate investor.
He purchased the iconic Chrysler Building in New York City in partnership with real estate firm RFR Holding LLC for approximately $150 million in 2019.
Tos Chirathivat, CEO and CEO of Central, said: “It is an honor to have the Selfridges Collection, including Oxford Street’s flagship store, which has been in the middle of London’s most famous shopping street for over 100 years. »
“As family businesses, Central and Signa will focus on delivering exceptional and inclusive digital experiences to both locals and foreign visitors alike, ensuring that we give all stores in the Selfridges Group a bright future for the next 100 years.”
Additional reporting by Will Goodbody
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