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retail Thai and Austrian companies to buy Globus stores for CHF1 billion

globus department store

The Globus branch in Lausanne.

(Keystone / Laurent Gillieron)

Swiss retail giant Migros has confirmed that it will sell off its Globus department stores to a joint bid by the Thai Central Group and Austrian real estate company Signa.

The deal, estimated by Reuters to be worth some CHF1 billion ($1.03 billion), involves the sale of the Globus brand as well as eight real-estate premises in Zurich, Basel, Bern, and St Gallen.

Migros bought Globus – a high-end department store – in 1997 for around CHF700 million.

In a press release on Tuesday, the Swiss retailer said that “of the 12 interested parties, Signa and Central Group put forward the best offer and future strategy” for the Globus stores; a strategy it said would guarantee the continued existence and development of the chain.

The deal will be the last in a wave of sell-offs begun last June, which also saw Migros shed the Interio furniture chain, the e-bike stores m-way, and the Gries Deco interior design stores.

New names in the market

Signa and Central Group are already the owners of various luxury department stores across Europe, including the German Kadewe, the Italian Rinascente, and the Danish Illum.

“As a historical Swiss brand, Globus is a perfect fit for our European alliance with strong local presence and international recognition,” said Central Group Europe Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Radice, who will assume leadership of Globus.

“Globus will have access to international luxury brands, and will benefit from the transfer of know-how within our group,” he said. He also said that the Swiss brand will benefit from the financial stability of its new owners, which will guarantee “excellent long-term prospects”.

The new owners will retain the Globus brand-name, as well as double-down on core business – luxury and top-end products.

Globus operates 48 stores across Switzerland, including 12 large department stores. It employs 2,409 full-time staff, and saw an annual revenue of CHF763 million last year – a contraction of 5.6% on the previous year, largely driven by the closure of several stores. 

Like many other stores, it has also been struggling under increasing competition from online shopping outlets.

The deal is subject to approval from European competition authorities and is expected to close in mid-2020.


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