Ex-Selfridges chief set for comeback after Thai takeover: Vittorio Radice to return to retailer he ran two decades ago
Vittorio Radice (pictured) joined Central Group in September as a non-executive board member
The sale of Selfridges to Thai businessmen will see the return of Vittorio Radice to the retailer he ran two decades ago.
The billionaire Canadian Weston family, who own Selfridges, have agreed to sell the department store to the Central Group conglomerate. The family has owned Selfridges since Galen Weston bought it in 2003, but they received an approach this summer, months after his death.
They are said to want £4billion for the group – including Selfridges’ four UK shops – and agreed a deal with Central Group that would see it sold by the end of the year. Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge and its four UK stores include the Oxford Street flagship in London.
The sale would cover its estate of stores in Ireland and the Netherlands, which include Brown Thomas and Arnotts.
Radice joined Central Group in September as a non-executive board member with ‘decision making’ responsibilities.
Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge and its four UK stores include the Oxford Street flagship in London
He was charged with overseeing its European openings and refurbishments. The sale would see the return of the 64-year-old who ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003.
He was renowned for his successful stewardship of the store, which he is said to have turned from a ‘comfy old cardigan’ to a ‘big sexy giant’.
Under the Italian’s tenure sales and profits soared as he turned it into a cool department store known for outlandish promotions and quirky offerings such as body piercings.
Radice appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs where he described reinventing Selfridges.
He said: ‘If you start with the concept saying it is a meeting place, you come away from being a classic retailer and become what we wanted to be… a place.
‘Then you fill the place like an image of any city centre, with shops that don’t have a logic but just position themselves next to each other and make the life of the city centre.’