Apollo Global Management, the US-based investment company that owns Aurum Holdings, is reported to be looking for a buyer for Britain’s biggest watch retailer.
Aurum Group runs Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths, Watch Shop and Mappin & Webb in the UK, which have been benefiting from a massive surge in sales this summer since the value of the pound slumped.
A story by Sky News city editor Mark Kleinman reports unnamed sources close to the situation saying Aurum had been one of the big winners from the Brexit vote, enabling it to cash in on its status as the UK’s largest retailer of luxury watches, and that bankers are expected to be appointed to oversee the sale in the next few weeks.
WatchPro approached Aurum Group CEO Brian Duffy for comment, but he is unlikely to be available today.
The summer of 2016 will be long remembered by retailers of luxury Swiss watches in the UK. In the three months from July to September, the UK imported Swiss timepieces worth CHF 327 million. This compares to a three month total of CHF 320 million for China, which was once considered a certainty to be the biggest market in the world.
For September, alone, the UK notched year-on-year growth of 32.4% in Swiss watch imports, comfortably the fastest growing market in the world’s top 10.
The advantage that Aurum has enjoyed over international rivals this summer may not last forever. Major Swiss watchmakers have already raised prices in the UK by around 10%. Rolex held out for months longer than LVMH and Richemont brands, but raised its price by 10% on November 1.