By Michelle Graff
Paramus, N.J.--Movado Group Inc. is moving into fashion jewelry with the purchase of JLB Brands Ltd., the London-based company that owns the millennial-focused Olivia Burton brand of watches and jewelry.

Movado used cash held outside the United States to buy JLB, which it purchased for approximately £60 million ($76 million).

Founded in 2011 by best friends Lesa Bennett and Jemma Fennings, Olivia Burton began selling ladies’ quartz fashion watches the following year, expanding into jewelry in 2016. The company is named after Bennett’s great-aunt.

The brand’s watches and jewelry are priced between £35-200 (about $45 to $270).

Both are sold online, as well as in UK retailers including Watchshop, Selfridges, Beaverbrooks and the Topshop flagship in Oxford Circus, London. Nordstrom has picked up the line as well, selling it in 117 stores in the United States as of January 2017, Movado said.

Bennett and Fennings will continue to run Olivia Burton, reporting to Movado Group CEO and Chairman Efraim Grinberg. Movado also will be keeping the 33-employee JLB Brand team, who operate out of the Shoreditch section of London.

The acquisition will help Olivia Burton, which has just begun expanding internationally, grow outside the UK, while giving Movado Group a growing brand that is millennial-focused and has a strong e-commerce business.

According to the news release Movado issued announcing the transaction, JLB Brands saw revenues increase 64 percent year-over-year last fiscal year and is expected to grow nearly 67 percent in its current fiscal year, which will end on March 31, 2018.

Buying Olivia Burton also gives Movado an entree into jewelry.

Grinberg said: “With this acquisition, we not only reaffirm our commitment to the watch category, but also expand our presence into fashion jewelry. Olivia Burton’s success under Lesa and Jemma’s direction prove that beautifully designed watches and jewelry can continue to excite today’s consumer.”

Movado Group said it will discuss the transaction in more detail when it reports its second quarter fiscal 2018 results.

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