Editor's Blog

Not so charmed

This month brought the news that Anders Colding Friis would stepping down as president and CEO of Pandora by the end of August. His departure was announced against a backdrop of shares which slumped by nearly a quarter on Tuesday 7 August after a reduced sales and profit growth forecast, and a follow-up announcement that 397 staff would be axed to “support strategy and protect profitability”.

Friis had been at the helm of the Danish Jewellery brand for three years having joined in March 2015, and Pandora said the search for his replacement is currently underway, simultaneously announcing the appointment of Jeremy Schwartz, a former CEO of The Body Shop who has previously held senior positions at several other multinational companies, as COO.

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It is too soon to make any robust analysis about what the plummeting share price and personnel changes mean for a company that just a few years ago was the poster-child for success in the affordable fashion segment of the jewellery market. But it begs a question we at Jewellery Focus have been asking for some years: how long could the charms trend last, and who ever thought it more than a fad?

There’s no doubt charms – and Pandora in particular – were something of a saviour for the jewellery industry at a time of wildly high gold prices and squeezed consumer spending, but it was never going to last forever.

Consumers are famously fickle and no amount of re-hashing of the humble charm or bead was going to change the laws of fashion gravity. That’s not to say it’s game over – I suspect Pandora will be around for a long time to come. But a profit warning rarely portends that a company’s best days are ahead of it.

Michael Northcott

Editor, Jewellery Focus

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