National Jeweler Network

Retail Profiles

In era of consolidation, one retailer goes bigger

By Michelle Graff

July 02, 2014

“Retailers have to be known first and foremost as our own brand. But…the consumer is comfortable with and trusts certain luxury brands. It is validating…when you showcase the top brands because then they have confidence in patronizing you as a retailer.”

Newport Beach, Calif.--When it relocates to a new space later this month, California retailer Traditional Jewelers will more than double in size, allowing it to better showcase its brands and placing it in a busier section of the same shopping center. 

Currently, Traditional Jewelers occupies a 4,500-square-foot space in a strip of Orange County’s Fashion Island shopping center that has become less busy over time. Michael Pollak, CEO of Traditional parent company Hyde Park Jewelers, said they are relocating to a 10,000-square-foot space in a more central and busier section of the center, near both Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. 

The jeweler’s decision to move into a larger retail space comes at a time when many retailers, both in jewelry as well as in fashion, are not in expansion mode. Two of the country’s largest chain jewelers, Sterling Jewelers, owner of Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, and Zale Corp. are merging and undoubtedly will shutter some stores. 

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Accessories retailer Coach announced last week that it was closing 70 full-line stores in North America while also opening more outlet stores and combining others. Clothing retailer Juicy Couture, known for its rhinestone-centric loungewear, is closing all of its existing U.S. stores and replacing them with only a few new concept stores in key markets here

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Pollak said the decision to open a bigger store was made in part because watch brands today are looking for increased visibility, which they will have in this new space. The larger Traditional Jewelers includes four shop-in-shops, all for watches: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier and Officine Panerai. 

In addition to the shop-in-shops, the new store will carry jewelry from the Fred Leighton estate collection. He said it is the first store in Orange County selected to carry the line, and it marks the retailer’s foray into period and estate jewelry. 

“Retailers have to be known first and foremost as our own brand. And I support that notion,” Pollak said when asked about the importance of brands in retail today. “But, at the end of the day, the consumer is comfortable with and trusts certain luxury brands. It is very validating to the consumer when you showcase the top brands because then they have confidence in patronizing you as a retailer.” 

While acknowledging the weight of brands, Pollak also said it’s important for retailers not to give up their own identity, their own “DNA in terms of the store brand,” for the lines they carry. At the new Traditional Jewelers, the shop-in-shops are placed around the perimeter of the store so they first brand experience shoppers have is that of Traditional Jewelers, he said.  

The store will hold a soft open in its new space July 11, with the official grand opening scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6. 

A man with experience with a very well-known brand has been hired to manage the new Traditional Jewelers. Bill Peters joins the retailer from the Louis Vuitton located in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. where he spent the last 14 years in various roles, including store director and director of client relations. Pollak said Peters has a keen understanding of both the clientele and charities in the area. 

The late Marion Halfacre and his wife Lula opened their first jewelry store in Jackson, Miss. in 1975. Four years later, they sold their interest in that business and moved to California, opening Traditional Jewelers in Newport Beach. Marion Halfacre died in 2007 and the business was sold to Hyde Park Jewelers in 2012. 

Hyde Park Jewelers has its flagship store in Denver, where the company is based, as well as a Hyde Park Jewelers store in Phoenix, Traditional Jewelers in Newport Beach, Calif., an Omega boutique in Denver and a Rolex boutique in Las Vegas. 

Pollak said they are adding two more boutiques, one for Roberto Coin and one for watch brand Breitling, to their portfolio this fall.