Retailers

Aurum Holdings set for auction amid sales boom

The owner of luxury watch and jewellery group Aurum Holdings is reportedly preparing to sell the business after posting “strong sales” following the EU referendum.

The company, which owns Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland, could be sold later this year after its controlling shareholder Apollo Global Management appointed investment bank Jefferies to review its options, according to Sky News.

The move comes amid a sales boom for the company, in which has benefitted from a surge in demand for luxury watches and jewellery from international tourists after the pound fell in value following the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

Aurum, whose retail stores are said to account for almost half of all watch sales in the UK, is believed to have recorded a 40% jump in luxury watch sales in the months following the referendum in June last year.

Speaking to the Leicester Mercury, Brian Duffy, Aurum’s chief executive, said: “There is no question that we are benefiting from more tourists coming to the UK since the devaluation that followed the Brexit vote.

“Private equity businesses tend to own businesses for no more than seven or eight years – they spend and invest and look to liquidate their investments. It could happen in 2017 – it’s a possibility.

“The important thing for us and our employees and our suppliers is that any change in ownership would not affect our strategy.”

He added that he did not know if separate parts of the business would be sold off, but said it was “highly unlikely”.

It is not yet known how much Apollo would demand should it opt to sell Aurum, or who the prospective bidders would be, but, as of yet, no formal sales process has started.

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