News • 14.01.2022

The Central Group and Signa Holding to acquire Selfridges Group

Exclusive online stores as an extension of physical stores

A big white building in London
Source: Central Group

Central, a family-owned retail, real estate and hospitality group and Signa, one of Europe’s leading real estate and retail groups, have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Selfridges Group, a leading luxury retail group, from the Weston family.

  • Transaction will create one of the world’s leading omni-channel luxury department store groups
  • Long-standing partnership between Central Group (“Central”) and Signa Holding (“Signa”) to build on the legacy of the late Galen Weston including investing significantly in all the Group’s stores in the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland and developing the site adjacent to the Oxford Street store

The Selfridges Group portfolio comprises 18 iconic and leading 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.

A portfolio of leading European luxury department stores

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 Weston family and the Selfridges Group leadership team have led the way in reinventing retail, placing creativity, customer experience and sustainability at the heart of their strategy.

A market-leading, omni-channel proposition

Central and Signa 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.

The Central and Signa 50/50 partnership will build on Selfridges’ strong foundations and luxury online customer offering, developing an integrated and compelling omni-channel proposition, with exclusive and market-leading online stores as an extension of the physical stores.

The shop entrance of Brown Thomas
Source: Central Group

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

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

Stefano Della Valle, Chairman of CGE Investments Limited (Central Group Europe), commented: “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, said: “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.”

Source: Central Group

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