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Vittorio Radice linked to a potential return to Selfridges

Lauretta Roberts
12 November 2021

Vittorio Radice, the man credited with transforming Selfridges into the innovative and fashionable retailer it is today, is being linked with a potential return to the iconic department store via a potential bid from a Thai retail group.

Radice ran Selfridges from 1996 to 2003 and has extensive experience across some of the world's biggest department store chains. He is the chairman of Italy's La Rinascente, which was sold to Thailand's Central Retail Corporation in 2011.

Now, according to The Times, Central Retail, which also owns Germany's KaDeWe and Denmark's Illum, is eyeing a potential bid for The Selfridges Group, which was put up for sale earlier this year by the Weston Family.

The Westons are said to be seeking £4 billion for Selfridges, which includes its UK stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham, Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland and De Bijenkorf in The Netherlands.

As well as La Rinascente, Illum and KaDeWe, Central Retail operates 3,700 shops around the world, including electronics retailers, book stores, supermarkets and department stores. It is owned by the Chirathivat family who are working with advisers from Citi on a potential bid.

However it faces competition to land The Selfridges Group, including from the Qatar Investment Authority, which owns Harrods and Hong Kong's Lane Crawford, while French luxury group, LVMH, which owns La Samaritaine and Le Bon Marche, is also said to be in the mix.

The sale of Selfridges, which the Westons acquired in 2003, was prompted by the death of the family patriarch Galen Weston earlier this year. His daughter Alannah has been the creative force behind the business, since the acquisition and has maintained its status as one of the most exciting retailers on the global stage.

During his tenure, Radice demerged Selfridges 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, Radice spent a short period with Marks & Spencer, before joining La Rinascente in 2005 as CEO. He became chair in 2021 following its sale to Central Retail in 2011.

Pictured: Vittorio Radice in Selfridges with then finance director Peter Williams in 2002. Williams would go on to become CEO of the retailer. Credit: Alamy.

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