International department store group Selfridges has acquired Arnotts department store in Dublin from the Noel Smyth-led Fitzwilliam Finance Partners.

The Arnotts brand will be added to an international portfolio of high-end department stores that includes Brown Thomas here in Ireland, Holt Renfrew in Canada, Selfridges & Co in the UK, and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.

Selfridges Group is owned by Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist Galen Weston and his wife Hilary, who is from Ireland.

Arnotts is one of Ireland's oldest and largest department stores and occupies a prime location on Henry Street in Dublin city centre.

As well as being a retailer, Arnotts also operates a number of cafés and restaurants within its 267,000 sq ft footprint.

In a statement Selfridges Group said it is "committed to investing in establishing Arnotts as the premium department store in Ireland by enhancing the shopping experience for its customers, upgrading the store environment and introducing new premium brands across all categories."

As part of the acquisition Arnotts will continue to preserve its own unique identity.

Selfridges supported Fitzwilliam Finance Partners and Noel Smyth in the acquisition of the Arnotts Group and says it "looks forward to engaging with Noel in relation to his future plans for the adjacent properties, which Fitzwilliam Finance Partners will continue to own". 

According to the company records offices Selfridges had lent Noel Smyth's Fitzwilliam Finance Partners €107m to buy bank loans linked to Arnotts and a number of properties associated with the Dublin store.

However, no figures have been revealed for the price paid for the Henry Street store by Selfridges. 

Following the deal, current Arnotts Chief Executive Ray Hernan will step down and Selfridges has appointed Donald McDonald as managing director.

Current MD of the Selfridges Group Paul Kelly will become chairman of Arnotts' parent company, ARHL Retail Holdings.

SIPTU members have welcomed proposals by the new owners of Arnotts to maintain and develop the retail business.

SIPTU Organiser Teresa Hannick said: "Our members in Arnotts are pleased with the positive news that the new owners are planning to further upgrade and develop the retail store.

"Following the scandalous treatment of the Clerys workers who were thrown out of their jobs in June, there is now an end to the uncertainty faced by staff in Arnotts which has had a number of difficult trading years," she added.

There are 45 members of SIPTU working in Arnotts.

Meanwhile, Mandate Trade Union has given a cautious welcome to the deal, with the union's General Secretary John Douglas saying: "We have met with the company today to explore the future plans for Arnotts and to ensure the workers continue to have a strong voice in their workplace.

"We have received commitments of ongoing dialogue with the company and we will keep our members updated at all times," he added.