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Selfridges acquires Irish department store Arnotts

Published 03 November 2015

UK-based retailer Selfridges Group has acquired Irish department store Arnotts for an undisclosed sum from Fitzwilliam Finance Partners, a corporate entity of Irish lawyer and developer Noel Smyth.

arnott acquisition

Noel Smyth set up Fitzwilliam Finance Partners in 2011 to acquire the debts of Arnotts and the adjacent properties in the north side of Dublin.

With the acquisition, Arnotts becomes a part of the high-end department stores owned by Canadian businessman Galen Weston and his Irish wife Hilary. The other department stores owned by the Westons include Brown Thomas in Ireland, Selfridges in the UK, Holt Renfrew in Canada and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.

The transaction is a part of a broader agreement between Fitzwilliam Finance Partners and Wittington Canada, which is the holding company for the Weston Group, to acquire loans associated with Arnotts and nearby sites, reported The Irish Times.

An amount of €107m was paid to acquire the loans, which were provided by Ulster Bank and Apollo, a US-based investment firm, The Irish Times reported.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission cleared the loan acquisition in August, paving the way for Selfridges to gain control over Arnotts.

Selfridges Group expects to build on the Arnotts brand and expand it to become an integral member of its international portfolio of department stores.

Founded in 1843, Arnotts is one of Ireland's oldest and largest department stores, occupying a prime location on Henry Street, one of the busiest shopping thoroughfares in Dublin's city centre.

Arnotts, which operates a number of cafés and restaurants within its 267,000ft2 space, is a multi-category retailer selling womenswear, menswear, homeware, beauty, childrenswear, jewellery and accessories.

Arnotts CEO Ray Hernan will discontinue in the role and Selfridges has appointed Donald McDonald to assume the role of managing director of the business.

Paul Kelly, who has been serving as the managing director of Selfridges Group, has been chosen to chair ARHL Retail Holdings Ltd, the parent company of Arnotts.

Kelly said: "Selfridges Group is delighted to be taking over the management of Arnotts department store. We have an excellent track record leading retailing in Ireland. Arnotts will benefit from our global retail experience and continual investment. Our priority will be to build on the legacy of this great Irish brand and we will look to enhance the customer experience while cherishing Arnotts unique heritage, which has been an essential part of Dublin's retail landscape for over 170 years."

"We were delighted to support Fitzwilliam Finance Partners and Noel Smyth in the acquisition of the Arnotts Group and we look forward to engaging with Noel in relation to his future plans for the adjacent properties, which Fitzwilliam Finance Partners will continue to own."

Image: Pictured together (left to right) are Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges Group and Galen Weston, Chairman, Selfridges Group. Photo: Courtesy of SELFRIDGES GROUP.