end of an era | 

Ireland’s iconic department stores Arnotts and Brown Thomas to be sold off to luxury chain

Christmas shoppers outside Brown Thomas on Dublin's Grafton Street yesterday. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Allison Bray

Ireland’s iconic department stores Arnotts and Brown Thomas are to become part of a European-wide luxury department store conglomerate under a proposed deal announced by the Selfridges Group last night.

The Selfridges Group, owned by Irish-Canadian billionaires the Weston family, owns the iconic Irish department stores as well as Selfridges stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.

But in the proposed plan announced last night, the Selfridges Group will become part of a portfolio of luxury department stores in Europe under a deal with Central and Signa, a leading European real estate and retail group.

The Selfridges Group will join high-end retailers such as Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Globus in Switzerland and the KaDeWe Group, which will operate in Germany and Austria in 2024.

“The combination will create a complementary portfolio of leading European luxury department stores, which will enable innovation know-how and knowledge to be shared across different locations,” according to a statement from Central and Signa, which will continue to operate the Irish department stores using the current management teams along with their e-commerce and operating companies.

Tos Chirathivat, CEO of Central, said: “It is a privilege to be acquiring Selfridges Group, including the flagship Oxford Street store, which has been at the centre of London’s most famous shopping street for over 100 years.

“As family businesses, Central and Signa will focus on delivering exceptional and inclusive store and digital experiences for both local residents and overseas visitors alike, to ensure we can give all the stores in Selfridges Group a bright future for the next 100 years.”

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

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