Birks Sells Mayors to UK Company for $105M

MajorsAug 14, 2017

Birks Sells Mayors to UK Company for $105M

Aurum Holdings Ltd. bought the Mayors chain of jewelry stores, which are located in Florida and Georgia.

The Mayors store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is one of five Mayors stores Birks Group recently spent money remodeling. Birks Group announced Friday that it has sold Mayors to a U.K.-based company called Aurum Holdings Ltd.

Montreal--Birks Group Inc. has sold the Mayors chain of jewelry stores in Florida and Georgia to Aurum Holdings Ltd. in a deal valued at $104.6 million.

The sale gives Birks Group money to pay down debt and to invest in its Canadian stores and e-commerce sites, as well as continue to sink money into wholesaling the branded jewelry collections it sells at Birks.

Based in the United Kingdom, Aurum Holdings operates more than 130 watch and jewelry stores in the United Kingdom under the Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watchshop, The Watch Hut and The Watch Lab nameplates.

In acquiring Mayor’s Jewelers Inc., Aurum takes control of a chain of 16 stores in Florida and Georgia that operate as Mayors, and one Rolex store in Orlando.

Birks will continue to run the stores until the transaction closes, which is expected to happen in the fall.

As part of the deal, Birks entered into a five-year distribution agreement with Aurum to sell Birks fine jewelry brands, collections like the gold-focused “Muse Ribbon” and the philanthropy-focused “Bee Chic,” at 14 Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths stores in the U.K. and on the stores’ e-commerce sites.

In addition, Mayors will continue to sell the Birks jewelry brands.

“Aurum is a strategic buyer committed to continuing investing in Mayors’ long-term growth, and with whom we share many synergies. This transaction is a significant step in our efforts to strengthen our balance sheet to better position the company for growth as well as long-term shareholder value,” Birks Group President and CEO Jean-Christophe Bédos said in a company news release announcing the transaction.

Aurum President Brian Duffy said: “We look forward to working with our new colleagues at Mayors and we are confident that together we will continue to develop the business in a positive way. This news follows our announcement to open a flagship Watches of Switzerland store in Hudson Yards (New York City) and confirms the ambition of our group to be an important part of the Swiss watch market in the U.S.A.”

Birks said it will use proceeds from the sale of the Mayors chain to invest in its flagship stores in Canada and new store concepts as well as the wholesaling of Birks-brand jewelry and e-commerce.

It also will be used to pay down debt.

In its most recent fiscal year ended March 26, Montreal-based Birks Group reported that same-store

sales rose 1 percent, including a 9 percent increase in comps in the U.S. mainly driven by higher watch sales but an 8 percent decrease in comps in Canada.

Gross profit fell from $109.4 million (38.3 percent of sales) to $108.4 million (37.8 percent of net sales).
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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