Skip to main content
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

Report: Weston Family to Sell Selfridges to Thai Central Group

The deal could be concluded before the end of the year.
A Rolling Stones pop-up at the Corner Shop at Selfridges in London | Source: Courtesy

The billionaire dynasty behind Selfridges & Co. agreed to sell the British department store operator to Thai conglomerate Central Group, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Weston family has agreed terms on a deal, which could be announced this month, the person said, requesting not to be identified because the information is private. Central Group is owned by the Chirathivats, one of Asia’s wealthiest families.

Trophy assets in the UK have attracted interest even as retail business on major shopping streets suffers. Retail property values have declined in recent years, and the industry was recently hammered by the pandemic and the shift to online shopping.

Ikea agreed to buy the former Topshop store on Oxford Circus, one of the busiest retail locations in Europe, in October. London’s Ritz Hotel went for sale last year. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund bought Harrods about a decade ago.

ADVERTISEMENT

Still, some well-known UK assets have failed to find buyers. In January, Boohoo Group Plc agreed to buy the 240-year-old Debenhams department store operator’s brand name, though not its stores, which later closed their doors.

Bloomberg reported in June the Weston family was considering a 4 billion-pound ($5.3 billion) sale of the group following an approach from a potential buyer. The Weston family had asked Credit Suisse to advise on the future of the business, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Selfridges and Central Group declined to comment.

Founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the retailer is best-known for the giant store on Oxford Street that has long been a mecca for fashion enthusiasts. There are also Selfridges stores in Manchester and Birmingham. The business was bought by the Canadian businessman Galen Weston for almost 600 million pounds in 2003 and has since expanded to include other department store chains, including Arnotts and Brown Thomas in Ireland, Holt Renfrew in Canada and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.

The Weston family is formidable in the world of retailing and is split into two branches in Canada and the UK. The Canadian wing controls Selfridges, while the UK side controls Associated British Foods Plc, the owner of Primark. W.G. Galen Weston, the family patriarch, died this year.

The Times reported the deal earlier.

By Jack Sidders

Further Reading

Case Study | Can Selfridges Future-Proof the Department Store?

Selfridges has attracted a bid from a potential buyer at a $5.7 billion valuation, the latest indication that the department store’s big bet on physical retail is paying off. But after a bruising pandemic year, the British chain could struggle to rebound amid a continued collapse in international tourism and a shift to online sales.

The Secrets to Selfridges’ Success

Selfridges is one of the world’s most effective luxury retailers. But is its £300 million bet on brick-and-mortar enough to stay ahead in a digital world?

In This Article
Topics

© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

More from Retail
Analysis and advice from the front lines of the retail transformation.

Why Esprit’s Ambitious Rebrand Fell Short

The company is in talks with potential investors after filing for insolvency in Europe and closing its US stores. Insiders say efforts to restore the brand to its 1980s heyday clashed with its owners’ desire to quickly juice sales in order to attract a buyer.


How Adidas Sambas Took Over the World

The humble trainer, once the reserve of football fans, Britpop kids and the odd skateboarder, has become as ubiquitous as battered Converse All Stars in the 00s indie sleaze years.


view more

Subscribe to the BoF Daily Digest

The essential daily round-up of fashion news, analysis, and breaking news alerts.

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
The Business of Beauty Global Awards - Deadline 30 April 2024
© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement.
The Business of Beauty Global Awards - Deadline 30 April 2024