British luxury store chain Selfridges is being sold to a Thai retailer and an Austrian real estate company in a deal that a source close to the matter said was worth around £ 4bn ($ 5.37bn).
Thailand’s Central Group and Austrian real estate company Signa Group, which already jointly own department stores in Europe, said on Thursday they had struck a deal for the chain best known for its Oxford Street store in London. The Canadian wing of the billionaire Weston family bought Selfridges for almost £ 600 million in 2003, Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, and Signa, owned by Austrian investor Rene Benko, together own department stores in Germany, Italy, Denmark and Switzerland.
Founded in 1908, Selfridges Group employs 10,000 people and owns 25 stores around the world, including major cities in England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada. Signa and Central will take over 18 of the 25 stores and hope to build a luxury hotel next to the Oxford Street flagship, the source said, adding that seven department stores in Canada were not part of the package. luxury department store empire, complemented by an online business.
The source said they plan to increase sales to 8 billion euros ($ 9.1 billion) by 2024,
Including more than a billion online, from around 5 billion now. The conglomerate will be managed from a holding company in London, with the potential for eventual listing on the stock market, although local management of stores in other countries will be maintained, the source said. Central opened its first department store in 1956, and grew to become the largest shopping center owner in Thailand with around 2,400 retail stores. It has an e-commerce joint venture with JD.com of China and participates in the Southeast Asian carrier Grab Holdings.
Central has been present in Europe since 2011 when it bought the Italian department store chain La Rinascente SpA for 205 million euros. In 2013, it also acquired Illum, Denmark’s oldest department store. In 2015, Central bought a majority stake in three luxury department stores in Germany from Signa. Central and Signa together last year bought Swiss luxury store Globus and other assets for more than 1 billion Swiss francs ($ 1.1 billion).