London–Legendary department store Harrods was sold over the weekend to investment group Qatar Holding for a reported $2.25 billion. Owner Mohamed Al Fayed will remain as honorary chairman of the luxury retailer.
“We are happy to acquire Harrods, a unique company that combines an iconic luxury brand and one of the most prestigious retail properties in the world with best-in-class financial metrics,” said Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed, managing director and ceo of Qatar Holding.
“This acquisition further expands our global portfolio of world-leading companies. Harrods managing director Michael Ward will also remain at the chain following the deal. Credit Suisse advised Qatar Holding on the transaction.Qatar Holding is the strategic and direct investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which is a government authority.
Qatar Holdings is expected to expand Harrods global presence, most likely with a flagship in Shanghai. Other changes could encompass an expanded offering in Harrods private label, and a refurbishment of the Knightsbridge store.
More Foreign Investment in the U.K.
As with the United States and other Western nations who have been hit with high unemployment and the worst recession in decades, British retailers have been reporting an increase in consumer spending. That combined with a lower valued pound has made U.K. retail ripe for buyouts from other nations and expansions. Last month. Best Buy said it plans to open as many as 150 stores in the country while Walmart’s Asda chain will extend its Living stores to 150 new doors within five years and add supermarkets.
Some of Harrods’ competition may also be snapped up. Liberty Plc, the 135-year-old U.K. luxury retailer, recently disclosed that it received approaches from BlueGem Capital Partners LLP and an unidentified third party. Already other upscale London stores London are owned by non-U.K. investors including Harvey Nichols Group Plc, controlled by Hong Kong entrepreneur Dickson Poon. Selfridges Plc was bought by Canadian billionaire Galen Weston.