Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 5, 2020
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Swiss mass-market distribution group Migros sells department store chain Globus

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 5, 2020

Last June, Swiss mass-market distribution group Migros heralded its intention to sell off the Globus department store chain. The group received a dozen different bids, and has now found a buyer for Globus and its 48 Swiss branches. The new owner is a joint-venture company between Austrian distribution group Signa and Thailand-based Central Group. The company is a well-known player in the department store sector, since it owns major chains like KaDeWe in Germany, La Rinascente in Italy and Illum in Denmark.

Globus was founded in 1907 and was bought by Migros in 1997 - Migros

Signa and Central Group will therefore take charge of the Globus branches across the whole of Switzerland, and will also become the owners of eight properties in Zurich, Basel, Bern and St. Gallen. “Globus remains as a Swiss brand, and it is set to strengthen in the future through investments in the luxury and premium segments,” said Migros. As of December 31 2019, Globus had a staff of 2,409 people, and generated annual revenue of CHF763 million, equivalent to €713 million.

The sale, whose value was not disclosed, will be finalised by mid-2020, following the approval of the EU’s competition authorities. Vittorio Radice, CEO of Central Group Europe, said that “thanks to KaDeWe, Rinascente and Illum, Globus will have access to international luxury labels and will be able to tap the group's expertise. The new shareholders will carry out substantial investment in existing Globus branches and in the Globus brand itself, in order to ensure its long-term financial viability.” Synergies will be therefore exploited, though the joint-venture company, which operates in five countries, intends to preserve its local identity in each of them.

Central Group first set foot in Europe in 2011, by acquiring Italian department store La Rinascente. It then bought Danish chain Illum in 2013, and KaDeWe, Oberpollinger and Alsterhaus in 2015. As a result, its revenue grew from €200 million to a 2020 forecast of €2 billion.

The department store sector is currently very lively in Switzerland. During January, the Manor group (owned by Maus Frères) announced a reorganisation leading to the closing down of a handful of branches and the triggering of a job protection plan for nearly 80 employees.

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