Selfridges store

Selfridges Initiates Cost-Saving Measures Amid Debt Challenges

Consultation Period Launched as Company Reorganizes Its Head Office Structure

Selfridges is stepping into a pivotal phase of restructuring amid financial challenges. The luxury department store is initiating a consultation period as part of its strategy to trim costs, following the acquisition by its new owners, Thailand’s Central Group and the Austrian property company Signa, in 2021. The duo acquired Selfridges from the Weston family for 4 billion pounds. However, escalating interest rates have since burdened the iconic retail business with debts exceeding 1.7 billion pounds.

While store staff are anticipated to remain unaffected, the consultation, set for a span of 45 days, might culminate in imminent job cuts. By the close of 2022, Selfridges had a workforce of approximately 2,800 spanning its offices and stores.

Financial records disclosed in August of the previous year revealed that Selfridges secured a loan of 1.7 billion pounds from Bangkok Bank’s London branch. In addition, the luxury store procured an undisclosed loan sum from EFG Bank, a Swiss financial entity.

Despite the adversities, Selfridges showcased commendable fiscal performance with a revenue of 653.4 million pounds for the year ending January 2022, marking a 28 percent ascent from the 2021 figure. However, an operating loss of 38.1 million pounds was recorded, largely attributed to the pandemic-driven store closures.

Central Group and Signa’s acquisition encompasses Selfridges’ eminent Oxford Street flagship, outlets in Manchester and Birmingham, England; as well as renowned stores such as de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands, Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland, and other associated e-commerce platforms. Their shared retail empire boasts of 22 luxury department stores, with two more in the developmental phase in Düsseldorf and Vienna. Esteemed properties such as KaDeWe, Oberpollinger, Alsterhaus, and Globus stand testament to their extensive portfolio. Central Group’s solo ownership includes luxury names like Rinascente in Italy and Illum in Denmark.

The ambitious duo is eyeing a staggering 9 billion euros in total sales from their comprehensive retail assortment by 2030. Over the last decade, they’ve infused 1 billion euros into their stores and envision a similar investment in the upcoming years.

While Selfridges commands a significant stature within their joint holdings, Central Group and Signa envision treating it synonymous with their other properties – as a city’s crown jewel.