The billionaire dynasty behind Selfridges & Co. is considering a 4 billion-pound ($5.66 billion) sale of the British department store group following an approach from a potential buyer.
The Weston family has asked Credit Suisse to advise on the future of the business, which includes the flagship emporium on London’s Oxford Street and stores operating under other names in Ireland, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the deliberations aren’t yet public.
A spokesman for Selfridges declined to comment on the potential sale. Credit Suisse also declined to comment.
Discussions are at an early stage and may not lead to a transaction, the people familiar said. The possible sale was first reported by the real estate trade publication React News.
Founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the retailer is best-known for the giant store on Oxford Street that has long been a mecca for fashion enthusiasts. There are also Selfridges stores in Manchester and Birmingham. The business was bought by the Canadian businessman Galen Weston for almost 600 million pounds in 2003 and has since expanded to include other department store chains, including Arnotts and Brown Thomas in Ireland, Holt Renfrew in Canada and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.
The holdings outside the U.K. and Ireland wouldn’t be included in the proposed sale, according to the people familiar.
A purchase of Selfridges would be a vote of confidence in the U.K.’s beleaguered retail industry, which has been hammered by the pandemic and the shift to online shopping. Retail property values have declined in recent years.
The Weston family is formidable in the world of retailing and is split into two branches in Canada and the U.K. The Canadian wing controls Selfridges, while the U.K. side controls Associated British Foods Plc, the owner of Primark. W.G. Galen Weston, the family patriarch, died this year. His children Galen and Alannah, who is chair of Selfridges Group, remain in the business. George Weston, a cousin, runs Associated British Foods.
By Deirdre Hipwell