Pandemic Lockdowns Hit Selfridges Sales, Profits in 2020

The British department store chain, best known for its flagship location on London’s Oxford Street, took a financial hit as strict lockdown measures forced the closure of its four locations for much of the year, according to business accounts filed with the UK’s Companies House.

Revenue was £508.5 million for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 30, 2021, down 40 percent year on year. Selfridges also reported a £175.2 million loss, compared with a £26.6 million profit the year previous. 

During what the retailer described in a press statement as the “most difficult year on record,” the business restructured and about 14 percent of its workforce was made redundant.

”Selfridges has faced an exceptionally challenging year in which trading was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the retailer said in the filing. “Despite the challenges, Selfridges is set up for a long and sustainable future,” the retailer said in the filing.

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While Selfridges is yet to report figures for 2021, the retailer said trading continued to be “encouraging,” with performance in line with expectations. The retailer also said it grew domestic market share in 2021.

In December, Selfridges’ longtime owner, the billionaire Weston family, sold the retailer to Austrian group Signa Holding teamed with Thai conglomerate Central Group, in a deal Bloomberg reported could be worth £4 billion ($5.4 billion).

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Can Selfridges Future-Proof the Department Store? Download the Case Study

Selfridges has attracted a bid from a potential buyer at a $5.7 billion valuation, the latest indication that the department store’s big bet on physical retail is paying off. But after a bruising pandemic year, the British chain could struggle to rebound amid a continued collapse in international tourism and a shift to online sales.

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