LONDON — The golden keys of the Selfridges Group have been handed over — and its managing director is stepping down.
The retailer was acquired by the late Galen Weston for 598 million pounds in 2003.
Central and Signa did not disclose how much they paid for the Selfridges Group, but did hint that it was “not far from the 4 billion pounds reported by the press when the deal was revealed in December, but not that specific amount,” in an interview with WWD earlier this year.
The deal includes the Selfridges Group’s portfolio — which is made up of 18 department stores, including Selfridges in London, Manchester and Birmingham, England; de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands; Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland, and their associated e-commerce platforms and the properties in London, Manchester and five locations in Ireland will be integrated with Central and Signa’s combined existing portfolio of 22 luxury department stores and two new stores to open soon in Dusseldorf and Vienna.
Central and Signa currently hold KaDeWe, Oberpollinger, and Alsterhaus in Germany, and Globus in Switzerland, meanwhile Central wholly owns Rinascente in Italy, and Illum in Denmark.
The merger includes Selfridges Group’s e-commerce platforms, which draw in more than 30 million online visitors per month and ship to more than 130 countries.
The Selfridges Group will be led by Stefano Della Valle, chief executive officer of Central and Signa’s luxury department store group in Europe, in a new expanded role.
Selfridges’ managing director, Anne Pitcher, will remain in the company’s leadership team until the end of the year.
“This news today is also an opportunity for me to share with you that | have decided to leave Selfridges Group at the end of the year. As an organization we have never stood still and it’s important to embrace change. After nearly two decades here, it’s time for me to do a little reinventing of my own,” said Pitcher in her resignation letter.
“I’ve enjoyed the most extraordinary 18 years: first with Selfridges as managing director before moving to lead Selfridges Group in 2019. | can hardly believe how as my career has evolved so too has my purpose. From repositioning Selfridges to be the Best Department Store in the World, through to championing sustainability and purposeful leadership across our group — | am tremendously proud of everything we have achieved together and truly honoured to be handing this iconic business over to our new owners in such great shape.”
The new co-chairman of the group will be Tos Chirathivat, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Central and Dieter Berninghaus, chairman of the executive board of Signa.
“We are long-term investors with a well-established partnership and shared vision to reshape and reinvent the luxury retail industry. We are committed to create the world’s leading luxury omnichannel platform for all our customers through both online and offline channels. We are excited to meet and work with our new colleagues, as well as brand partners to achieve this vision,” Chirathivat and Berninghaus said in a joint statement.
Central Group is controlled by the Chirathivat family, and operates retail businesses in Thailand and Vietnam, as well as in Europe.