Selfridges' owners set to sell department store to Thai investors

Billionaire Weston family want $5.3bn for the famed business, reports say

The National. Empty shops feature. The London underground is still much less busy following the 
coronavirus lockdown. Selfridges on Oxford Street popular with international shoppers.

British department store Selfridges is set to be sold by its billionaire owners to Thailand’s Central Group.

The Weston family have been searching for a buyer and want about £4 billion ($5.3bn) for the retail business, which has 25 stores globally, including the flagship Oxford Street site and branches in Dublin, the Netherlands and Canada.

Reports suggest terms were agreed to in the past few days but that the deal could drag on until the end of the year. Selfridges has declined to comment.

The business is one of the UK's best loved brands and can trace its roots back to 1908, when it was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge.

It has been owned by the Westons for 18 years. The family also have a large stake in retailer Primark.

Central Group is a family-owned conglomerate that started in Bangkok but went global when the founder’s son Samrit Chirathivat opened Thailand’s first department store in 1956.

It now has 3,700 shops around the world, from supermarkets to electronics outlets, and department stores in Europe.

Central Group’s non-executive director Vittorio Radice ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003 and has been managing a department store in Italy since 2006.

His role includes responsibility for expansions in Europe.

The Weston family launched the sales process in June, a few months after the death of Galen Weston, who oversaw the move to take the department store private in 2003.

The family control Selfridges through Wittington Investments Ltd in Canada, which is separate from the UK arm that owns a large stake in Primark owner Associated British Foods.

Updated: December 2nd 2021, 5:58 PM