Sunday 22 September 2019

Retail figures: Brown Thomas business believed to be valued at €242m after corporate reorganisation

Teo Sutra models designer fashions from Brown Thomas’ Christmas-gifting idea, The Marvel Room
Teo Sutra models designer fashions from Brown Thomas’ Christmas-gifting idea, The Marvel Room
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The Brown Thomas business - including its flagship store on Dublin's Grafton Street - is understood to have been valued at at least €242m following a reorganisation of its parent company structure.

Brown Thomas is part of the Selfridges retail group that's owned by Canada's Weston family. It also owns Arnotts in Dublin, while the Weston family also controls high-end London department store Fortnum & Mason.

A recently established Irish company called BTG (Grafton Street) Holding Co includes director Stephen Sealey, who is the out-going managing director of the Brown Thomas business.

Fresh filings at the Companies Registration Office show that at the end of October, a UK-based Selfridges group company, SREL Retail Europe, injected €242m in cash into BTG (Grafton Street) Holdings in return for shares in the new Irish company.

Topline sales for the Brown Thomas group are €300m and were in growth last year, Mr Sealey told the 'Sunday Independent' in October. Pre-tax profit was €4.7m, down from €6.2m and Mr Sealey said this was because of investment in the business. Brown Thomas has recently completed a €35m investment plan.

The Weston family, which also has a significant interest in Primark owner Associated British Foods, acquired an initial interest in Brown Thomas nearly 50 years ago. In 1983, billionaire Galen Weston bought it outright. In 2015, Selfridges acquired Arnotts from Fitzwilliam Finance Partners, a vehicle established in 2011 by solicitor Noel Smyth.

The Weston family also owns the department store chain de Bijenkorf in Netherlands, as well as a chain of similar department stores in Canada called Holt Renfrew.

Accounts for UK-based SHEL Holdings Europe show that the combined revenue in the 53 weeks to February 3 this year was £1.38bn (€1.53bn) for Selfridges, Arnotts, Brown Thomas and de Bijenkorf. It made a pre-tax profit of £105.2m (€116.5m) in the period.

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