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Central Group acquires Selfridges

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BANGKOK, 23 August 2022: Central Group and Signa Holding announced Monday they had completed the acquisition of Selfridges from the Canadian Weston Family.

The Central Group, controlled by the billionaire Chirathivat family, is the largest department store chain operating for over 75 years in Thailand. With the acquisition of the British luxury store chain Selfridges, Central and Signa aim to become a major global player in the department store sector. This transaction has created one of the world’s leading luxury department store groups, with a presence in eight European countries and flagship stores in the cities’ most sought-after locations, mainly the iconic Selfridges department store.

The iconic Selfridges Oxford Street is considered one of the UK capital’s premier shopping destinations in the heart of London, which occupies an entire city block.

In December 2021, Thailand’s largest department store owner, Central Group, was just days away from closing a UKP4 billion (USD4.76 billion) acquisition of Selfridges stores in the UK. The Weston family owned Selfridges for almost 20 years (2003), acquiring the brand for UKP598 million.

Selfridges Group’s portfolio includes stores under four brands in three countries, including the flagship department store Selfridges in London, England. The integration will also include Selfridges Group’s e-commerce platforms, which draw over 30 million online visitors monthly and ship to over 130 countries worldwide.

Central and Signa’s combined existing portfolio of 22 department stores and two new stores to open soon in Dusseldorf and Vienna. The current holdings comprise Rinascente in Italy and Illum in Denmark (wholly owned by Central Group) KaDeWe, Oberpollinger, Alsterhaus in Germany, and Globus in Switzerland, which Central Group and Signa Holding jointly own. Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, has had a presence in Europe since 2011. Last year, the joint venture bought Swiss luxury department store Globus and other real estate assets for USD1 billion.

Central executive chairman and chief executive officer Tos Chirathivat and Signa Holding chairman of the executive board Dieter Berninghaus will be the new co-chairs of the group.

In February 2022, Central Retail announced it would spread USD3 billion across its operations in Thailand, Vietnam and Italy. Central Retail has 23 Central department stores in Thailand and 40 under the mid-range Robinson brand, making it the country’s biggest chain of its kind. Central Retail has 3,641 branded stores (Sept 2021), including supermarkets, hypermarkets, sportswear, stationery, electronics and office products.

(Report by Andrew Wood, CEO A&P Media)

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