By Brecken Branstrator
Birks Group has completed the sale of its Mayors chain of stores to U.K.-based Aurum Holdings. Pictured here is the Mayors store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Montreal--Birks Group announced that it has completed the sale of its Mayors subsidiary to Aurum Holdings Ltd.

United Kingdom-based 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.

It also just announced the opening of a flagship Watches of Switzerland store in the New York City retail development Hudson Yards.

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

Gross proceeds from the sale, first announced in August, were about $108 million, Birks said, which were used to pay down most of its outstanding debt.

Concurrent with the close of the transaction, Birks entered into a new credit facility with Wells Fargo for a maximum amount of about $67.1 million, allowing it the funds to implement the next phase of its strategic plan. This includes the renovation of its Canadian flagship stores, new store concepts and e-commerce and wholesale activities for the Birks jewelry brand collections.

As part of the agreement between Birks and Aurum, the Birks Brand collections of fine jewelry will be offered in 16 locations in the U.S. through the Mayors network as well as in 12 locations in the U.K. at various Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths stores and on their respective e-commerce sites.

Birks will continue to offer fine jewelry and timepiece brands to the Canadian market through its Birks and Brinkhaus banners as well as its own e-commerce site.

In its most recent fiscal year ended March 26, Birks 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.

In the new 2017 State of the Majors, Birks Group fell at No. 22 in the list of $100 Million Supersellers, down from the No. 21 listing in 2016. It also was listed at No. 23 in this year’s list of Top 50 Specialty Jewelers by store count.

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