An already-remodeled Birks store in Yorkdale, Ontario. Parent company Birks Group is in the early stages of a five-year turnaround plan that includes the renovation of its three flagship locations, in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
Montreal—Canadian retailer Birks Group reported an uptick in same-store and total sales in its second quarter results released earlier this month.

Same-store sales for the 26-week period ended Sept. 29 were up 4 percent year-over-year.

Excluding sales from the company’s Toronto flagship store, which has been moved to a temporary location while the building it was in undergoes a renovation, comps rose 7 percent.

The jeweler reported a “significant” increase in sales of Birks-branded jewelry, engagement rings and wedding bands, as well as third-party brand watches. TAG Heuer, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Tudor and Breitling are among the brands the retailer carries.

Net sales totaled CA$68.7 million ($58.1 million), up 6 percent over last year.

The retailer attributed the increase in net sales to the reopening of its recently remodeled flagship store in Montreal, an increase in online sales and successful targeted marketing campaigns, though it took a hit from lower sales at stores still under construction, like the Toronto flagship.

Birks Group President and CEO Jean-Christophe Bédos called the successful reopening of the Montreal store a “promising sign of things to come,” as the retailer also is in the process of remodeling its flagship store in Vancouver and expects the Toronto store renovations to be done by the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. (Birks’ fiscal year runs April 1 to March 31.)

Gross profit dipped from 40 percent of net sales to 38.4 percent of net sales due to more sales of third-party brand watches and Birks doing promotions to get rid of inventory that’s not selling.

Operating loss widened from $5.9 million to $8.5 million.

Montreal-based Birks Group is in the early stages of a five-year turnaround plan announced in July that focuses on renovating flagship stores, upgrading its website and integrating it with the in-store experience, and emphasizing Birks-branded product.

Bédos said the company’s latest quarterly results are “reflective of this fact.”

“We are pleased with the sales growth experienced during the period, especially the performance of the underlying retail business, which benefited from the impact of the fully renovated Montreal flagship store … We remain confident that the execution of our strategic initiatives will lead to long-term value creation.”

Birks operates 26 stores under the Birks brand across Canada and a Brinkhaus store in Calgary, as well as one Patek Philippe and one Graff store in Vancouver.

The retailer used to own and operate the Mayors chain of jewelry stores in Florida and Georgia but sold the chain to U.K company Aurum Holdings Ltd. in October 2017. Birks used the money from the sale to pay down debt and secure fresh financing.

Birks Group ranked No. 27 on National Jeweler’s list of North America’s top jewelry sellers in the 2018 State of the Majors report, falling just behind Swarovski and ahead of Kohl’s.

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