Central Group reveals global luxe department store strategy after Selfridges buy
New Selfridges joint owner Central Group has been revealing details of its strategy as it works to boost its European operations and expand its relationship with luxury brands.
Its plan includes development of its Selfridges properties as it makes better use of underutilised space in the London flagship’s hotel, car park and surrounding area.
Thailand-based Central acquired Selfridges Group last month in a deal with Austria’s Signa Holding and it sees it as key to its luxury department store strategy.
But the strategy goes much wider than its UK-based crown jewel and overall, the company will invest almost €1.3 billion in the next five years in Europe with a focus on new stores, upgrades and e-tail.
It’s investing €900 million alone to open new department stores in Switzerland, Austria and Germany and it’s revamping Rinascente's Turin store, among other projects.
It will also work closely with luxury conglomerates including LVMH, Kering and Richemont to elevate the luxury offer in it stores as well as the shopping experiences in those locations.
And it said it will boost its e-commerce ops, becoming a leading e-tail platform and a key partner for luxury brands. That will include taking Selfridges.com more global. As well as expanding it in the UK and Ireland and in mainland European countries, it will also target Asia. That will expose the Selfridges business to a huge, high-spending and luxury-focused consumer group.
E-commerce currently accounts for €1 billion for the wider group across Europe, or 17% of its sales, and the firm is clearly targeting fast growth from this starting point.
In total, the firm’s combined department stores sales should hit €6.7 billion this year. The business now includes Selfridges Group-owned stores like Selfridges itself, De Bijenkorf, Brown Thomas and Arnotts, as well as Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark and Germany's KaDeWe.
Company chief Tos Chirathivat said the firm’s department store business “has achieved a remarkable milestone of having the world’s largest international presence” with 120 locations in 11 countries.
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