Selfridges sold for £4bn to Thai-Austrian allianceon December 24, 2021 at 1:44 am

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The British luxury store chain is being bought by Thailand’s Central Group and Signa Group of Austria.

Shoppers walk past Selfridge's flagship store on London's Oxford Street.

Image source, Reuters

British luxury department store chain Selfridges is being sold to a Thai retailer and an Austrian property firm.

The deal for the majority of Selfridges Group is worth around £4bn ($5.4bn), the BBC understands.

Founded in 1908 by US retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge, the company is best known for its flagship department store on London’s Oxford Street.

The Canadian wing of the billionaire Weston family bought Selfridges for nearly £600m in 2003.

“It is a privilege to be acquiring Selfridges Group, including the flagship Oxford Street store, which has been at the centre of London’s most famous shopping street for over 100 years,” Central Group’s chief executive Tos Chirathivat said in a statement.

Thailand’s Central Group, which is owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, is involved in wide range of businesses including real estate, retailing, hospitality and restaurants.

Central opened its first department store in 1956 and has grown to become Thailand’s largest owner of shopping malls.

It also has an e-commerce joint venture with China’s JD.com and a stake in south east Asian ride-hailing and delivery giant Grab.

Vienna-based Signa Group was founded by entrepreneur René Benko in 2000 and has become Austria’s largest privately owned real estate company.

The two firms already jointly own major department stores across Europe.

The Selfridges Group employs around 10,000 people and owns 25 stores worldwide, including in major cities in England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.

Signa and Central will take over 18 of the 25 stores. Selfridges’ seven department stores in Canada were not part of the deal.

“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,” Signa’s chairman Dieter Berninghaus said.

The Weston family put the chain up for sale in June, a few months after the death of Galen Weston, who oversaw the move to take the department store private 18 years ago.

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

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