Mon, 17 Jan 2022

LONDON, England: A Thai conglomerate, the Central Group, is set to buy luxury UK department store group Selfridges for up to £4 billion.

Selfridges owns 25 outlets, including its flagship store in London's Oxford Street, as well as branches in Dublin, the Netherlands and Canada.

According to the Times, the first to report the sale, the Weston family, which owns Selfridges, agreed to sale terms with the Thai group in the last few days.

Selfridges, which was founded in 1908 by U.S. retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge, has been owned for 18 years by the billionaire Westons, one of Canada's richest families, and was put up for sale in June, a few months after the death of Galen Weston, who managed the privatization of the store in 2003.

The Thai Central Group is a family-owned conglomerate with 3,700 shops around the world, from supermarkets to electronics outlets, as well as department stores in Europe.

Central Group began in Bangkok, opening Thailand's first department store in 1956.

Vittorio Radice, non-executive director of the group responsibile for expansion in Europe, ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003 and has been managing a department store in Italy since 2006.

A division of the group, Central Retail, sparked confusion about whether a Selfridges sale had fallen through when it issued a short stock exchange announcement that it was "not currently involved" with a purchase.

However, the Westons are reported to be in talks with a different arm of the group, though it is not known why the family decided to sell.

While Selfridges announced sales of almost £2 billion this year, up through February 2020, more recent figures are likely to show a significant drop in revenues.

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