Aurum Holdings Ltd, parent company of the Goldsmiths, Watches of Switzerland and Mappin & Webb fascias, has revealed exclusively to Retail Jeweller that it plans to shut six of its 13 boutique.Goldsmiths fashion and jewellery concept stores as it refocuses its Goldsmiths business.
A further four of the remaining boutiques will be converted into Goldsmiths stores and branded watch shops, with just three boutique.Goldsmiths stores remaining open.
Speaking exclusively to Retail Jeweller, Craig Bolton executive director Aurum Holdings said that the decision was taken as a result of reduced footfall, consumer uncertainty and heavy promotion and discounting over Christmas 2016.
Executive director, Craig Bolton
He explained: “Fashion is a great space, we accept that and we understand it but, it was just producing outputs for us that was making the boutique.Goldsmiths stores less profitable.
“The six [boutique.Goldsmiths stores] that we will close have either leases that we can give back to the landlord, or in some cases, leases that we just have to get rid of. But, we believe as a division of space, it [fashion] is not where we want to be.”
Bolton explained that four of the seven remaining stores will either be converted into Goldsmiths stores, enabling the retailer to sell fashion branded jewellery and watches from the boutique stores alongside more high end product, or in certain cases, may be turned into luxury watch boutiques, selling brands such as Tag Heuer. He said the exact conversion plans would be finalised within the month.
“We will go back to selling fashion product in our own four walls within the Goldsmiths’ stores,” he added.
Only three units located in Solihull, Bradford and Belfast, will continue to trade as boutique.Goldsmiths.
The Group plans to retain and relocate around 50% of its staff members from the boutique.Goldsmiths stores. “Where possible, a lot of the staff were ex- Goldsmiths staff members anyway so we have brought them right back in,” added Bolton.
As part of the changes and refocus of the store portfolio, the Aurum Group plans to categorise its Goldsmiths stores into 25, which will be termed, Luxury stores, 28 which will be known as Premium A stores and a further 44 Premium B stores.
“We will now go back to really looking at every metre of space in the stores and largely for us it will be about becoming more luxury and slightly less fashion,” explained Bolton.
“The whole point for us is to elevate our brands, and that’s through training our teams better, better VM execution in the windows, less discounting, better execution of brands, and where we can we want to offer exclusive brands so we are not sharing with anybody.”
Bolton revealed that Goldsmiths, which includes Goldsmiths stores and boutique.Goldsmiths is estimating that it will be trading 8%-10% up year-on-year by the end of 2017.
Aurum opened its first boutique.Goldsmiths store in Stratford in 2011 and the retailer was known for stocking many fashion-led jewellery and watch brands including Olivia Burton and Michael Kors.