Thailand's Central Group, which already owns luxury department stores like Rinascente, KaDeWe and Illum in Europe, has an agreement to acquire British department store chain Selfridges, which has been for sale since the summer.
According to The Times, the Canadian owner family Weston has reached an agreement with Central Group in recent days about the sale of the luxury department store chain. The aim is to conclude a final deal before the end of the year.
Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge and has 25 stores worldwide, including its famous flagship store in Oxford Street. The Irish chains Brown Thomas and Arnotts, de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands and Holt Renfrew in Canada are also part of the group. It has been owned by the Weston family for 18 years.
Central Group is a family conglomerate that has its roots in a small shop in Bangkok. Samrit Chirathivat took over the business from his father and opened Thailand's first department store in 1956. The group now has an extensive network of 3,700 stores around the world, ranging from electronics shops to book shops, supermarkets and European luxury department stores.
The deal will bring Selfridges and De Bijenkorf into the hands of a new owner with a long-term vision and in-depth knowledge of the luxury department store market. The sale to Central Group will also mark the return of Vittorio Radice, who successfully transformed Selfridges in the 1990s. Since 2006 he has headed the Italian department store Rinascente and is now also a director at Central Group.
The financial terms of the deal are not yet known, but the Weston family was previously aiming for a sum of around 4 billion pounds (4.7 billion euros). In June, the merchant bank Credit Suisse was hired to sell the chain by auction.