The insolvency of the Signa Holding of the Austrian real estate entrepreneur René Benko also affects the Swiss Signa Retail Selection AG. It is one of dozens of affected companies in the Signa conglomerate. Signa Retail Selection AG owns 50 percent of the Globus department store chain. Signa Retail Selection AG has also submitted an application for a debt moratorium. Business editor Klaus Bonanomi knows what all this means for Globus.
SRF business editor
Open the people box. Close the people box
Klaus Bonanomi has been a business editor at Radio SRF since 2009. Before that, he was a news editor, Federal House correspondent and producer of the program Rendez-vous. He also works as a correspondent for the Austrian newspaper “Der Standard” and for the German “Südkurier”.
What does the current development mean for Globus?
That’s not entirely clear yet. Officially, Globus’ operational business should continue to run; the aim is to prevent Globus from being dragged into the maelstrom of Signa’s insolvency. At the moment, business continues as before. This also applies to the major construction site in Basel, where a huge Globus department store is being built, which is scheduled to open in 2025.
Who are the Thai investors in Globus?
50 percent of Globus is owned by the Thai Chirathivat family through its Central Group. Their fortune is estimated at over eleven billion dollars and they are one of the richest families in Thailand. According to their own confession, the Chirathivats want to continue to run Globus. What you need to know is that your Central Group, together with Signa, is involved in other luxury department stores in Europe. It is currently not clear what the Central Group plans to do and whether it might want to buy these department stores out of the Signa holding company. The good news is: Unlike René Benko’s Signa Group, the Chirathivat family does not appear to be in financial difficulties.
Does the department store business model have a future at all?
It depends: Some experts say that strong brands and luxury department stores with an upscale and specific offering – such as Globus in Zurich or Loeb in Bern – are more likely to hold their own in city centers. But the competition is tough, so Globus has also closed a number of branches in recent years. Department stores in the middle segment are having a harder time – Jelmoli in Zurich will close and Manor on Bahnhofstrasse there has already closed. The competition on the Internet and the large shopping centers in the urban areas make life difficult for them.