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Who owns the high street: the Weston family

Includes Primark, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason

Ireland’s richest family, the Westons’ impressive retail portfolio stretches from the value end of the high street to some of luxury’s biggest names. The family bought London department store Selfridges in 2003 for £628m, and added two branches in Manchester and another in Birmingham. They are the controlling shareholders of Associated British Foods, owner of value chain, Primark, which has 184 UK stores. They also own London department store Fortnum & Mason, Arnotts, Ireland’s biggest department store, and Irish department store group Brown Thomas, which has four stores.  

The Westons received a £38.5m dividend in November 2017 – almost triple the previous year’s – after annual sales at Selfridges reached record highs. Operating profit jumped 18% year on year to £180m in the year to 28 January, and sales grew 16% to £1.6bn. 

Founding father George Weston started a bakery chain in the late 19th century in Canada that grew to include supermarket group Loblaws and department store business Holt Renfrew.

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