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Thailand’s Central Group close the deal on Selfridges

The iconic Selfridges Oxford Street is considered one of the UK capital’s premier shopping destinations in the heart of London, which occupies an entire city block

The Central Group, controlled by the billionaire Chirathivat family is the largest department store chain operating for more than 75 years in Thailand.

Bangkok, Thailand – Central Group and Signa Holding announces today they have now completed the acquisition of the luxury retailer, Selfridges Group from the Canadian Weston Family. 

The Central Group, controlled by the billionaire Chirathivat family is the largest department store chain operating for more than 75 years in Thailand. 

With the acquisition of British luxury store chain Selfridges, Central and Signa aims to become a major global player in the department store sector. This transaction has created one of the world’s leading luxury department store groups, with presence in 8 countries in Europe and flagship stores in the cities’ most sought-after locations, particularly the iconic Selfridges department store.

In December 2021 it was reported that Thailand’s largest department store owner, Central Group, was just days away from closing a 4 billion pound ($4.76 billion) acquisition of Selfridges stores in the United Kingdom. 

The current owners of Selfridges, agreed terms with Central around the end of November, according to a report in The Times newspaper. The Weston family owned Selfridges for almost 20 years (2003), acquiring the brand for 598 million pounds.

Selfridges Group portfolio, which comprises 18 stores under 4 banners in 3 countries, namely;

  • Selfridges in England
  • Brown Thomas & Arnotts in Ireland
  • De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands






The integration will also include Selfridges Group’s unrivalled e-commerce platforms, which draw over 30 million online visitors monthly and ship to over 130 countries worldwide.

This will be integrated with Central and Signa’s combined existing portfolio of 22 luxury department stores and 2 new stores to open soon in Dusseldorf and Vienna. The current holdings comprise Rinascente in Italy and Illum in Denmark, which are wholly owned by Central Group, KaDeWe, Oberpollinger, Alsterhaus in Germany, and Globus in Switzerland, are jointly owned by Central Group and Signa Holding. 

Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, has had a presence in Europe since 2011. 

Last year, the joint venture bought Swiss luxury department store Globus and other real estate assets for $1 billion.


Mr. Tos Chirathivat, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Central Group, and Mr. Dieter Berninghaus, Chairman of the Executive Board of Signa Holding, will be the new Co-Chairman of the Group.

“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 creating the world`s leading luxury omni-channel 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,” wrote Mr. Tos Chirathivat. 

The transaction sees Selfridges Group become part of the combined Central and Signa portfolio of luxury department stores, which includes Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Globus in Switzerland and the KaDeWe Group, which operates in Germany and Austria (starting in 2024). 

The pro-forma annual turnover for the combined department stores portfolio was €5 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow to more than €7 billion by 2024. The combination will create a complementary portfolio of leading European luxury department stores, enabling innovation and knowledge sharing across different locations, says the joint venture. 

Selfridges, founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, is best known for the giant store on London’s Oxford Street. It has been controlled by the Westons since 2003.

Central and Signa are expected to operate all stores in the Selfridges Group, including Selfridges, de Bijenkorf, Brown Thomas and Arnotts. 

Back in February 2022 Central Retail also announced it will spread $3 billion across its operations in Thailand, Vietnam and Italy. 

Central Retail has 23 Central department stores in Thailand and 40 under the mid-range Robinson brand, making it the biggest chain of its kind in the country. Central Retail has 3,641 branded stores (Sept 2021 ) including supermarkets, hypermarkets, sportswear, stationery, electronics and office products.

Observers suggest said the latest acquisitions indicate the physical retail store business is very much alive with retail business shifting to omni-channel shopping; no longer limited to online and offline. 

Companies clearly believe in the potential of physical stores, reflected by the recent expansion by two e-commerce players, Amazon and Alibaba. These two already expanded into the physical store business during the pandemic.

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Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a former hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. Educated at Batley Grammar School and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew started his career in London, working with various hotels. His first posting overseas was with Hilton International, in Paris, and he later arrived in Asia in 1991 on Bangkok with his appointment as Director of Marketing at the Shangri-La Hotel and has remained in Thailand ever since. Andrew has also worked with the Royal Garden Resort Group now Anantara (Vice President) and the Landmark Group of Hotels (Vice President of Sales and Marketing). Latterly he has been the General Manager at the Royal Cliff Group of Hotels in Pattaya and the Chaophya Park Hotel Bangkok & Resorts.

A past board member and Director of Skål International (SI), a former National President with SI Thailand and a two time past President of the Bangkok Club. Andrew is the former President of Skål Asia. In 2019, Andrew was awarded SKÅL’s highest award the distinction of Membre D’Honneur.

He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Asia.