Major Selfridges shareholder files for insolvency just weeks after selling some of its stake

A major Selfridges shareholder has filed for insolvency just weeks after it sold some of its stake in the retailer.

Austrian firm Signa said it has struggled with ‘severe economic pressure.’ 

Signa co-owns New York’s Chrysler Building and other department stores in Europe, and has been hit by high interest rates and the cost of energy and construction.

Selfridges said the insolvency would not affect customers. It follows a crisis that cast doubt over the future ownership of the 114-year-old store. 

Just 15 months ago, the Weston family sold it to Central Group and Signa for £4billion in a 50:50 ownership deal.

Bust: Sigma, whose billionaire founder Rene Benko, (pictured with wife Nathalie) was ousted as chairman this month, has been hit by high interest rates

This month, hotel empire Central bought some of Signa’s stake, making it the majority owner, and could now take full ownership.

Central said: ‘Central Group remains steadfast in its commitment to safeguard and support its European luxury stores. 

‘We are in robust financial health and benefit from access to a wide range of funding streams. ’

The insolvency is a blow for Signa’s billionaire founder Rene Benko, who was ousted as chairman this month.