Aurum has announced that it is now responsible for approximately 31.8% of all the watch sales in the UK.
With the recent acquisitions of online powerhouses Watch Shop and Watch Hut, Aurum’s grip on market share is stronger than ever. Total sales across the group’s portfolio in its most recent fiscal year were up 19%. Even when excluding the figures from Watch Shop and Watch Hut, sales were still up an impressive 12%.
As well as its growing online presence, another key factor behind the group’s growth is the opening of new Watches of Switzerland stores, and refurbishment of its existing ones.
Its flagship boutique at 155 Regent Street, which opened last year as Europe’s single largest watch store, made £42m in its first year, which was just shy of the £45m that the group had targeted for it. This was made from selling 3,630 units at an average price of £11,570.
Aurum CEO Brian Duffy said that the Regent Street boutique also converted 9% of the people that walked through its doors into buying customers, and that 14% of these were repeat customers. Unsurprisingly, Chinese consumers were identified as the key target demographic.
Watches of Switzerland plan to replicate the success of 155 Regent with the imminent opening of two more London boutiques, which will be the final two thirds of what Aurum sees as a ‘Golden Triangle’ of stores in the capital.
The first of these openings will be on 5 October at 439 Oxford Street, immediately adjacent to Selfridges. This will be followed by a Knightsbridge shop next to Harrods.
Away from Watches of Switzerland, other parts of Aurum’s ambitious expansion plans include the opening of another seven boutique.Goldsmiths stores in just the next six or seven weeks alone, in time for Christmas.
With Mappin & Webb re-launching its own watch brand in spring next year and Goldsmiths’ shopping centre stores performing particularly strongly, everything looks healthy for the retail behemoth, which is part of American private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
Aurum has set the bar extremely high and is clearly interested in raising it further and further. The gauntlet has been officially thrown down.