Selfridges
30/12/2021 by Buildington
A family-owned retail, real estate and hospitality company Central Group and one of Europe’s leading real estate and retail groups Signa Holding have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Selfridges Group, a leading luxury retail group, from Weston family.

The Selfridges Group portfolio comprises 18 department stores, including Selfridges in London, Manchester and Birmingham, de Bijenkorf in Netherlands, Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland, their associated e-commerce platforms and the properties in London, Manchester and five locations in Ireland.

The transaction will see Selfridges Group become part of the combined Central and Signa portfolio of luxury department stores, which owns Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Globus in Switzerland and The KaDeWe Group, which operates in Germany and Austria (starting in 2024). The Pro-forma annual turnover for the combined department stores portfolio was EUR 5 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow to more than EUR 7 billion by 2024.

The combination will create a complementary portfolio of leading European luxury department stores, which will enable innovation know-how and knowledge-sharing to be shared across different locations.

The late W. Galen Weston acquired the world-famous Selfridges store in 2003. He formed Selfridges Group in 2010, bringing his five heritage department store brands under one group. Working closely with his daughter, Alannah Weston, and the leadership team, Weston invested heavily in his vision for a world-renowned group of luxury department stores, charging the management team with the complete transformation of each business into the globally recognized, iconic omni-channel brands that they are today.

The Central and Signa 50/50 partnership will operate all the stores in Selfridges Group including Selfridges, de Bijenkorf, Brown Thomas and Arnotts, which will continue to be run by the existing leadership teams, as well as their e-commerce platforms and operating companies. The Canadian business, Holt Renfrew, will remain with the Weston family.

Tos Chirathivat, Executive Chairman and CEO of Central, commented: “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. 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. 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.”

Dieter Berninghaus, Chairman of the Executive Board of Signa, added: “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 fulfil 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.”

Alannah Weston, Chairman of Selfridges Group, commented: “The acquisition of Selfridges Group by Central and Signa is testament to the successful realisation 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 twenty years and sustainability is deeply embedded in the business. 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.”

Stefano Della Valle, Chairman of CGE Investments Limited (Central Group Europe), said: “Selfridges Group is Central and Signa’s second department store acquisition during the Covid-19 global pandemic, and this represents a huge vote of confidence in both city centre retail and the future of the department store.”

“These incredible stores are interwoven into the fabric of city life. We take a long-term view that people live and visit cities because they want to socialise, eat, drink, shop and enjoy incredible experiences and we are confident that when the pandemic recedes, these joys in life will return. Selfridges Group is an incredible addition to our portfolio, and I am confident that we can build on the already strong foundations with leading-edge customer data, innovative new loyalty schemes and a strong omni-channel offer to further grow the business.”

Anne Pitcher, Global Managing Director of Selfridges Group, added: “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. We could not have done any of this without our teams and I would like to place on the record my thanks, to every one of them for helping make this business what it is today.”

“We are joining an impressive group of leading luxury department stores across Europe presenting a fantastic opportunity for the business and reinforcing our leading status and position in global retail.”

The parties expect closing to occur upon the receipt of regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other closing conditions.
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