Central Group becomes a world leader in department stores and luxury distribution

Largest international department store presence in 11 countries 80 cities 120 locations 16 luxury flagship stores in major tourist cities in Europe and Asia.

75 years after Tiang and Samrit Chirathivat opened their first bookstore, Central Group’s department store business has reached new heights as it has become an international leader in luxury department stores.

Tos Chirathivat, Executive Chairman and CEO of Central GroupTos ChirathivatExecutive Chairman and CEO of Central Group, said: “Our department store business has achieved a remarkable milestone in having the largest international department store network presence in the world, spanning 11 countries, 80 cities and 120 locations. Total department store sales will reach 6.7 billion euros or 260 billion baht this year. The addition of Selfridges Group to our collection of luxury department stores has established Central Group as a true global leader in luxury retail with the most international luxury flagship locations in major destinations around the world and a thriving international luxury e-commerce platform. First and foremost, we are the proud owner of 19 crown jewels, many of which have been located for over a century in coveted locations in the heart of major European cities such as London, Zurich, Rome, Copenhagen, Dublin and Vienna.

Since its inception, Central Group has been at the forefront of innovation, constantly creating new and unique experiences for its customers. The company built Thailand’s first department store, some of the region’s best-known department stores, and Thailand’s first one-stop multi-purpose shopping complex. Its first foray into Europe began in 2011 with the acquisition of Italian luxury department store Rinascente, followed by Illum in 2013, KaDeWe in 2015, Globus in 2020 and finally Selfridges Group earlier this year.

“Luxury has been the pillar of Central Group’s growth since the acquisition of Rinascente. Over the same period, European luxury brands have consistently outperformed the market, driven by the boom in global tourism. The luxury industry was among the fastest to rebound from the economic crisis with resilient demand. Over the past decade, Central has cultivated trust and strong partnerships with all the major luxury brands who have co-invested with us to transform stores into iconic retail destinations loved by locals and tourists alike. In total, Central Group’s European stores welcome more than 130 million visitors from over 200 nationalities every year and today boast over 6 million loyal members – a true testament to the success of its luxury business to date. said Tos Chirathivat.

Going forward, Central will pursue its luxury strategy in two main areas:

Strategy #1. Develop and expand the collection of iconic stores in major tourist cities in partnership with luxury brands

The transformation and development of stores are at the heart of Central’s strategy in Europe. Central works closely with the world’s most influential brand conglomerates such as LVMH, Kering and Richemont to enhance the luxury assortment, store image and shopping experience. Each store is designed to showcase the uniqueness of its city and its heritage, a story loved by local customers and tourists alike. Food and gastronomy are also integral to supply and processing, and are best demonstrated at the recently rejuvenated KaDeWe in Berlin, Rinascente in Milan and Rome, and Globus in Zurich.

Several store transformation programs and new developments are underway in several countries. At Selfridges Oxford Street, a redevelopment of the underutilized hotel, car park and stables is being assessed to create additional value at this renowned asset. (Further information on current projects can be found in the Notes to Editors section)

Strategy #2. Become a leading e-commerce platform and partner of choice for luxury and fashion brands with global reach

Central Group’s European e-commerce platforms receive 30 million online visitors per month and generate €1 billion in revenue per year, or 17% of total sales. Online orders are shipped to over 130 countries worldwide. International sales contribute up to 40% of Selfridges.com revenue. Such expansive scale and global reach is comparable to pure online retailers. The Group aspires to make Selfridges.com the premier global luxury online platform through the following: 1) global recognition of the Selfridges brand, 2) retention of merchandise and brands and exclusive collections across banners, 3) advanced technology and data to personalize and enhance the customer experience, and 4) the Group’s presence in 11 countries to promote awareness beyond the local market and provide omnichannel services that pure online retailers cannot easily replicate, especially in Thailand and Southeast Asia where Central Group is headquartered. Thai customers will have access to broader and more distinctive luxury brands, assortment and collections through this channel.

Finally, for Thai customers, The 1 members, who are now entitled to points and promotions at Rinascente, Illum and KaDeWe, will soon be able to enjoy similar benefits at Selfridges and other Group European stores. Additionally, The 1 Exclusive members can expect more special privileges and “exclusive” experiences when shopping in Europe.

Tos Chirathivat finally said: “Over the past 75 years, our success has been built on our commitment to providing the best possible experience, products and services to all of our customers, both offline and online. We have the opportunity to work closely with world-renowned brands and employ exceptional global talent to build each store to become the “Central of Life”. We are also committed to building sustainable communities, improving the areas surrounding the stores, providing local jobs and preserving the heritage of the stores, as well as the environment, with Selfridges being at the forefront of global environmental initiatives. Our group is honored and proud to have been able to represent Thailand on the international stage and would like to invite our Thai customers to continue this journey with us.