Jewellery group Aurum sees profits rise 53%


Luxury jewellers Aurum Holdings, which owns retail brands Mapping & Webb, Watches of Switzerland and Goldsmiths, today reported record sales and a huge rise in full-year profits.

In the 12 months to January 29th 2012 operating profits for the business improved by 53 per cent year-on-year to total £18.3 million, while like-for-like sales grew 10.2 per cent compared to the previous year.

As the continued success of fellow retailers such as Burberry & Mulberry prove, many British luxury fashion brands seem immune to the squeeze on sales seen by many traders during the last year or so, thanks in large to part to consumer trends for quality over quantity, and the growing apetite for their products in emerging markets.

Three new brands introduced into Goldsmith‘s during the year, Canadian Ice, Biba and LA Rocks, all sold well, and the retailer also opened the ‘boutique. Goldsmiths‘ concept stores at shopping centres Westfield Stratford, Lakeside and Metro during the period.

Online sales for the business jumped 10.7 per cent during the year, with this boost to trading helped by the recent launch of the transactional website.

Justin Stead, CEO of Aurum, said: “2011 has been a very exciting year for us and we are delighted with our brands‘ performance.

“Our results reflect the outstanding partnership we have with our key commercial brands and support partners. The entire Aurum team is to be congratulated on this world class performance as we continue to deliver the Aurum Vision for our customers and clients every day.”

The majority owner of Aurum, failed Icelandic banking group Landisbanki, is currently considering takeover offers for the business as part of a controlled sales process, with international luxury brands giant LVMH said to be interested.

EBITDA for the group totalled £22.5 million over the 52 weeks, compared to £16.1 million for the same period last year, cashflow improved by £7.5 million, and the group‘s net debt was reduced by over £5 million.

A new store concept for Mappin & Webb is to be unveiled in June this year along with a new marketing campaign, and further roll-out of the new Goldsmiths store design is expected over the next 12 to 24 months.

Don McCarthy, Chairman of Aurum, added: “I am extremely please with our performance over the year despite the difficult trading environment.

“There is no doubt that 2012 will remain challenging, however I am certain that the business is well positioned to continue to drive significant growth.”