The Watches of Switzerland Group is going public on the London Stock Exchange, the company announced ahead of today’s trading day.
It is the largest luxury watch retailer in the UK with a market share of 35%, according to the announcement.
Turnover was $973 million in the twelve months to 27 January 2019, including sales from 21 stores in the United States.
The group’s last published accounts at Companies House showed sales of just over $900 million for the 2017-18 financial year.
The Watches of Switzerland Group owns Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watch Shop, Watches of Switzerland and the Watch Lab in the UK.
In the United States it has opened three multi-brand stores under the Watches of Switzerland name in Las Vegas and New York. It also owns Mayor’s in Florida, a major multiple with 18 stores, most of which have Rolex as an anchor brand.
Watches of Switzerland Group currently has 21 stores in the US in Florida, Atlanta, the Wynn Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and two stores in New York (Soho Greene Street and the newly opened Hudson Yards).
Through the acquisition of Mayors and the successful deployment of its best practices from the UK, Watches of Switzerland Group is now the largest luxury watch retailer in the south-eastern region of the US.
Brian Duffy and Patek Philippe president Theirry Stern at the launch of Watches of Switzerland in New York. America is key to the group’s future growth story.“I am incredibly proud of the transformation Watches of Switzerland Group has undergone over the last five years to become the UK’s leading luxury watch retailer and successfully enter the important US market. Today’s announcement signals the next stage in that journey, leveraging our scale, retail and e-commerce expertise, and strong stakeholder relationships to continue our profitable growth strategy,” says Brian Duffy, chief executive of The Watches of Switzerland Group.
“There are significant growth opportunities ahead of us, both in the UK and the US, many of which are already being realised. We have a proven track record, an experienced management team and strong brand support for our plans. At Watches of Switzerland Group we have the best teams in the business and credit for our success goes to them. We love what we do and I am very excited for what lies ahead and the opportunity to take our growth strategy to the public markets,” he adds.
Apollo Global Management, a New York-based private equity firm that has owned The Watches of Switzerland Group (formerly known as Aurum Holdings) since 2012, will retain a controlling stake in the business. Only 25% of the group’s shares are expected to be available in the initial public offering. An additional 15% could follow.
The group says that the IPO will raise money that can reduce its debts, raise its profile with customers suppliers and employees and improve its ability to recruit, retain and incentivise key management and employees.
It will also create a liquid market in the shares for existing and future shareholders.