Aurum Holdings, a British-based retail jewelry business that bought Mayors in October last year, has reported sales surging to £685.2 million ($901 million) for the financial year ended April 30, 2018.
The American business has been key to the group’s growth, with pro forma net sales rising 9.9% on this side of the Atlantic while UK sales rose by 5.2%.
Aurum Holdings, which is owned by US-based Apollo Global Management, is rumored to be in preparation for a public listing early next year. It recently announced it will change its name to Watches of Switzerland Group on September 1, a re-branding reported to make it more investor-friendly ahead of an IPO.
A list of operational highlights accompanying the financial results suggests that growth opportunities for growth in North America are as important as the larger UK operation to Aurum.
The report points to the successful integration of Mayors, a leading watch and jewelry retailer in Florida and taking over management of a Rolex showroom and multi-brand watch boutique in the Wynn Resort, Las Vegas, in December last year.
The group is investing heavily in refurbishing and relocating some of the Mayors network of around 20 stores, and is on track to open Watches of Switzerland shops in New York.
It also has a program of improvements to merchandising, marketing and CRM rolling out in North America in partnership with the key watch and jewelry brands it represents.
Aurum Holdings has grown from a medium sized British jewelry multiple in 2013 with turnover of just over £300 million to the £685 million multinational group it is today.
In the UK it owns Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watchshop, The Watch Lab and Watches of Switzerland.
“It has been another year of continued progress for the Group, with good organic growth being further bolstered by key strategic developments in the US with the acquisitions of Mayors and Wynn. Luxury watches are the driver of growth in both the UK and US,” says Brian Duffy, chief executive of Aurum Holdings.
Mr Duffy has told WatchPro in the past year that the key aim of the group is to invest in the fastest growing areas of the jewelry and watch market. Since 2016, the UK has been red hot as the Brexit vote weakened the value of sterling and made luxury goods like watches more than 25% cheaper than comparable Western markets. That contributed to sales rising by almost 25% in the 2016-17 financial year.
Watch brands have adjusted UK prices over the past two years, which has reduced the price differentials and taken some heat out of the market.
The US market has grown faster than the UK this year, with exports of Swiss watches rising by almost 10% in the first five months of 2018. Exports to the UK have dipped by 10.8% in the same period.
“This solid performance was supported by the positive market trends in the UK, and particularly, in the US. The Swiss Watch Federation report strong growth in the global market for luxury watches. Our strong results and the growth we have seen in our total market share in this category during the year, coupled with the continued momentum in current trading post the year end, is testament to the strength of our retail brands, our store environments and our people, and demonstrates that we are well placed for future growth,” Mr Duffy concludes.