LONDON — Bulking up its Irish portfolio and extending its reach in Europe, Selfridges Group has acquired Dublin’s Arnotts department store from Fitzwilliam Finance Partners, the retailer said late Monday.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The group, which is owned by Galen and Hilary Weston, will add Arnotts to a portfolio that includes Brown Thomas in Ireland, Holt Renfrew in Canada, Selfridges & Co. in the U.K., and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.
The company said it was looking forward to “the opportunity to build on the Arnotts brand and its unique identity, and to grow and expand Arnotts.”
Founded in 1843, Arnotts is one of Ireland’s oldest and largest department stores, and occupies a prime location on Henry Street, a busy shopping area in the center of town. It is a multicategory retailer selling women’s wear, men’s wear, home and beauty, children’s wear, jewelry and accessories. It also operates a number of cafés and restaurants across its 267,000 square feet.
Selfridges said it was “committed to investing in establishing Arnotts as the premium department store in Ireland” by enhancing the shopping experience for its customers, upgrading the store environment and introducing new premium brands across all categories.”
The statement added that Arnotts would continue to “preserve its own unique and much-loved identity.” Among the brands the store stocks are Calvin Klein, Austin Reed, Nine West, Barbour International, DKNY and Orla Kiely.
Paul Kelly, the group’s managing director, said Arnotts would benefit from Selfridges’ “global retail experience and continual investment. Our priority will be to build on the legacy of this great Irish brand, and we will look to enhance the customer experience while cherishing Arnotts’ unique heritage, which has been an essential part of Dublin’s retail landscape for over 170 years.”
Weston, chairman of Selfridges Group, said: “Our family has been a significant investor in Irish retailing, and the wider economy, since we acquired Brown Thomas in 1971.”
Kelly has been named chairman of ARHL Retail Holdings Ltd., parent of Arnotts, while Donald McDonald has been named managing director of the Arnotts business. McDonald takes over from Ray Hernan, who is stepping down as chief executive officer of Arnotts Group.
The deal comes amid rapid-fire consolidation and investment in the European department store sector and cross-Atlantic partnerships aimed at building market share online and offline.
On September 30, Hudson’s Bay Company’s acquisition of the Galeria Kaufhof department store chain from Germany’s Metro Group was successfully closed. That deal, which cost 3.8 billion Canadian dollars, or $2.8 billion, marked HBC’s entry into the European market.
In June, La Rinascente acquired a 50.1 percent stake in Germany’s KaDeWe premium department store group that was spun off from the Karstadt Department Store chain last fall. The remaining 49.9 percent stake will stay in the hands of Signa, the Austrian real estate group that also owns Karstadt.
Also over the summer the multibillionaire former Qatari prime minister and foreign minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani revealed plans to acquire a 10 percent stake in Spain’s largest department store chain, El Corte Inglés, for 1 billion euros, or $1.12 billion.
Looking ahead, Liberty in London has unveiled plans for an initial public offering that could take place as early as 2018. The IPO is aimed at securing the store’s future, and allowing its main investor, BlueGem Capital Partners, to exit.
Selfridges’ last major acquisition was five years ago when it bought Dutch luxury retail chain de Bijenkorf from the Maxeda Retail Group for an undisclosed sum. De Bijenkorf, a fashion and luxury goods retailer, has been in operation since 1870, and has a chain of 12 stores.
The group’s flagship Selfridges chain is growing at a steady pace: In the year to January 2015, the group reported a 4.3 percent uptick in gross sales to 1.3 billion pounds, or $2 billion, and a record 155 million pounds, or $239 million in operating profit, a 3.4 percent increase over the previous year.
This year, it began a major 300 million pound, or $463 million, investment in its flagship Oxford Street store. As reported, the redevelopment will roll out over the next three years with the first new portion due to open in spring 2016.