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Selfridges sale deal reportedly close to completion

Lauretta Roberts
21 December 2021

The sale of upscale department store group Selfridges is said to be close to completion with the seller and buyer reportedly keen to close the deal before Christmas.

According to The Times, Thailand's Central Group has teamed up with Austria's Signa Group to land the group, which includes Selfridges, Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland and De Bijenkorf in The Netherlands. It is understood current owners, Canada's Weston family, are looking for £4bn for the group.

Central Group, however, has previously refuted reports that it is involved in the deal to buy Selfridges, but those reports suggested it was planning to buy the chain on its own. The latest report states the Thai group, which last year teamed up with Signa to acquire Swiss department store Globus, had formed a similar joint venture to buy Selfridges. The two businesses also own German department store KaDeWe, while Central also owns La Rinascente in Italy and Denmark's Illum.

It its understood that former Selfridges CEO Vittorio Radice has been instrumental in sealing the deal. Radice ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003 and has been leading department store La Rinascente since 2006. His role at the group includes responsibility for expansions in Europe.

During his tenure at Selfridges, Radice demerged it from the Sears Group and oversaw significant investment in the business transforming it from a somewhat fusty store into a vision more akin to that of its founder Harry Gordon Selfridge, who invented experiential retail in 1908 about a century before anyone had even dreamed up the term.

After Selfridges was acquired by the Westons in 2003, Radice spent a short period with Marks & Spencer, before joining La Rinascente in 2006 as CEO. He became chair in 2021 following its sale to Central Retail in 2011.

The Weston family launched the sale process for the Selfridges Group in June, a few months after the death of the family patriarch Galen Weston earlier this year. The family controls Selfridges through Wittington Investments Ltd in Canada.

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