Comps fell 10 percent for Birks Group in the first half of its fiscal year due to a combination of weakness in retail sales and flagship renovations, the company said. Pictured here is the Birks store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Montreal--Same-store sales fell 10 percent in the first half of the fiscal year for Canadian retailer Birks Group Inc.

Net sales for the 26-week period ended Sept. 23 totaled $49.8 million, a 9 percent decline from the same period last year.

Birks said sales of branded fine jewelry and bridal were weak, and pointed to overall softness in luxury retail in Canada and the renovation of two flagship stores, in Montreal and Toronto, as reasons for the sales decline.

Gross profit from continuing operations slipped from 41 percent of net sales to 40.1 percent due to the product sales mix and increased promotions.

In the first half of its fiscal year, Birks Group announced the sale of Mayor’s Jewelers Inc. to U.K. company Aurum Holdings Ltd. for total cash consideration of $107.7 million. At the time of the transaction, Mayor’s Jewelers Inc. had 16 Mayors stores in Florida and Georgia and operated a Rolex store in Orlando.

The sale, which Birks has said will allow it to pay down debt, invest in its Canadian stores and online operations, closed Oct. 23.

The Mayors results for the period were not included in the Birks sales total for the half-year period, though the net loss figure the company reported did include the Florida-Georgia jeweler.

Birks Group’s net loss for the period totaled $4.3 million, including a net loss from continuing operations of $5.7 million and net income from Mayors of $1.3 million.

That is more than double the net loss of $2.0 million recorded in the prior-year period.

In a company news release, Birks Group President and CEO Jean-Christophe Bédos said the first-half results “reflect the transformation of the company’s operations in order to achieve its objective of becoming an international omnichannel business and to attain our goal of becoming a globally renowned luxury brand.”

In National Jeweler’s 2017 State of the Majors report, Birks ranked No. 22 on the $100 Million Supersellers list and No. 23 on the list of Top 50 Specialty Jewelers by store count.

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