Aurum back in profit after restructuring

Marion Dakers
LUXURY jeweller Aurum Holdings announced earnings of £10.5m yesterday, a jump of 27 per cent, after refinancing last November.

The parent company of Goldsmiths, Watches of Switzerland and Mappin & Webb made a post-tax profit of £0.1m in the year to January 2010, against a loss of £19.4m the previous year.

While overall sales were down 1.2 per cent annually, online turnover has increased by 50 per cent in the latest quarter, and all three brands saw double-digit growth in sales in the three months to 25 April.

The company said eight of its ten luxury watch brands are now outperforming the market, which remains slow following the downturn.

The jewellers also enjoyed improved Christmas trading, up three per cent year on year, after deciding not to offer the heavy discounts that dented profits in 2008.

The company plans to make more cost reductions that will boost profits “on a significant basis” in 2010.

The refinancing came after Icelandic retail investor Baugur, a major shareholder in the group, collapsed in early 2009.

After losing most of its directors and restructuring debts with Landsbanki, two thirds of the company is now owned by lenders.

Don McCarthy, chairman of Aurum Holdings, said: “2009 represented the toughest year in recent memory, yet Aurum continues to take market share.”