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Weston Family Inks Deal to Sell Selfridges Group

Selfridges Group has a new owner, confirming reports that Central Group and Signa Holding will join forces to acquire the company from the Weston Family.

Per a joint release from all three parties, the sale includes 18 department stores including Selfridges in London, Manchester and Birmingham, de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands and Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland. The transaction also includes their associated e-commerce platforms, and properties in London, Manchester and five locations in Ireland. The Canadian business, Holt Renfrew, will remain with the Weston family. The late W. Galen Weston acquired the Selfridges store in 2003 and formed the Selfridges Group in 2010 to bring the European department store operations under one umbrella.

“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 20 years and sustainability is deeply embedded in the business,” Alannah Weston, Selfridge’s chairman, said. “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.”

“I am proud that over the last two decades of Weston Family ownership, we have built Selfridges Group into the sustainable, innovative and world-leading retail group it is today. Our relationships with our brand partners have never been stronger; our e-commerce platforms are well-invested and going from strength to strength; and our sustainability initiatives position us at the forefront of reinventing retail,” Anne Pitcher, Selfridge’s global managing director, said.

The total purchase price wasn’t noted in the joint announcement, but has been pegged at 4 billion euros ($4.53 billion). Central and Signa will operate all the stores in the Selfridges Group and each operation will continue to be run by its existing leadership team.

In the Central-Signa deal, Selfridges will join a portfolio of luxury department stores that include Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Globus in Switzerland and The KaDeWe Group in Germany. The pro-forma annual turnover  for the combined department store portfolio was 5 billion euros ($5.67 billion) in 2019 and projected to grow to over 7 billion euros ($7.93 billion) by 2024. The two will own Selfridges as a 50-50 joint partnership.

Thailand’s Central Group is controlled by the Chirathivat family, and the is the country’s largest mall developer with more than 100 department stores and shopping malls.

“It is a privilege to be acquiring Selfridges Group, including the flagship Oxford Street store, which has been at the center of London’s most famous shopping street for over 100 years. 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,” Tos Chirathivat, Central’s executive chairman and CEO, said. “We are looking forward to working with the management teams and the colleagues across Selfridges Group, as we seek to create a world-leading luxury, retail company.” Chirathivat is the grandson of Central’s founder Tiang Chirathivat.

Signa is an Austrian holding company active in the real estate, retail and media business sectors.

“We are excited to be acquiring Selfridges Group in partnership with Central. 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 masterplan and create a high-quality experience retailing environment for our customers and brand partners,” Dieter Berninghaus, Signa’s executive board chairman, said.

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