The upmarket Selfridges department store business comprises the long-established Oxford Street flagship plus three provincial stores – two in Manchester and one in Birmingham.

Selfridges has been established as a luxury retailer with a fashion and beauty bias. Its high-end positioning has been endorsed by ongoing innovation and enhancement of the London flagship where a £300m overhaul was completed in 2019. 

The Oxford Street store is ranked among the best department stores in the world, famous for its retail theatre, extensive offer and high-profile events.

Following a relaunch of the website, Selfridges has become increasingly multichannel in approach over the past few years. Growing the online business internationally has also been a key focus.

In what management described as an “exceptionally challenging year in which trading was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic”, Selfridges swung to a £136.7m operating loss in the year to end-January 2021 (FY2020) after net sales slumped 40% to £508.5m on the back of the enforced closure of its four stores at various points during the year in line with lockdown measures.

With its former Weston family owners having put the business up for sale in mid-2021, Selfridges was acquired by Thailand’s Central Group and Austrian real estate company Signa Holding in a £4bn deal in December 2021. The sale to Central Group, which owns over 3,700 stores worldwide, including Italian department store group La Rinascente, signals the return of the well-respected Vittorio Radice who ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003 and oversaw the transformation of the department store group into a contemporary, innovative business.

Innovation rating: 2.5

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