UK department store group Selfridges is reportedly ‘negotiating’ a potential deal with Qatar. In July this year, the upmarket department store was put up for sale by its owners, the Weston family, giving the luxury retail space a £4 billion price tag.
According to the website, thisismoney.co.uk, Selfridges' billionaire owners are in talks with Qatar about the £4 billion sale that would see the world-famous department store change hands for the first time in nearly two decades.
Reports said Qatar has taken the lead in the race to snap up the chain of high-end stores, and with such a deal will see Qatar take ownership of a second major London department store. In 2010, Qatar acquired Harrods through its sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
The Weston family launched an auction for Selfridges after a difficult year during which it was forced to close for several months. The group operates four Selfridges stores in the UK – in London, Birmingham, and Manchester where it has two.
According to reports, Qataris are not yet in exclusive talks and it is possible a rival bidder for Selfridges may yet be successful. Other interested parties are said to include sovereign wealth funds, such as Adia of Abu Dhabi and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
Prior to the pandemic, sales at Selfridges were reportedly up seven percent to £1.97 billion. It has, however, been a challenging year for bricks-and-mortar retail. Nevertheless, the department has remained resilient, investing in online capabilities and setting up impressive initiatives including the Project Earth sustainability campaign, which is committed to changing the way we shop by 2025. Most recently, it partnered with Dior on a new rooftop restaurant and began offering on-site weddings. (luxurylondon.co.uk)
Credit Suisse has been appointed adviser on the sale. This huge deal with Qatar would be a defining moment for one of the UK's most prized businesses. Selfridges owns over 600,000 square feet of selling space at its flagship Oxford Street store in London.
Sources: thisismoney.co.uk, luxurylondon.co.uk
Cover image: Shutterstock
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