Thailand’s Central Group becomes owner Selfridges as Signa woes deepen

Thailand’s largest department store owner, Central Group, has taken control of Selfridges department stores, the company said in a statement on Wednesday, as its Austrian partner faces an investor revolt.

The announcement comes as Austrian co-owner, Rene Benko’s Signa faces a property crisis in Europe. Central Group and Benko’s real estate company Signa Group bought Selfridges in 2021 in a deal worth $5 billion.

Benko this month handed over control of Signa to a restructuring expert.

The Thai retailer is owned by the billionaire Chirativat family, which Forbes ranks as the country’s fourth-richest.

Central will gain control of the joint venture unit that also operates Brown Thomas & Arnotts in Ireland, and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.

Central says the moves “solidifies” its position as an owner-operator of the largest European luxury department store group.

Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge and is best known for its flagship store in Oxford Street in London.