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FF Group looking for Links of London buyer

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The FF Group is looking for a buyer for British jewellery brand Links of London.

Sources close to the brand told WatchPro’s sister title, Professional Jeweller, that accountancy firm, Deloitte, is looking at sales options for Links of London, with the FF Group confirming the news this morning.

In a statement the FF Group writes: “The company can confirm that it has appointed Deloitte and Savigny Partners to investigate the option of a full sale of the business, but that is the extent of their mandate at this point. Links of London remains in the process of a turnaround plan that the company continues to support.”

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According to Sky News, the FF Group is on the hunt for a rescue offer by this week, with sources telling the broadcaster it was “almost inevitable” a sale would take place in a pre-pack administration or that a post-transaction restructuring would be required.

This news should not come as a surprise from the trade. The brand’s owners, Folli Follie, have been in trouble for some time following a scandal involving its business in Asia, all the while Links of London has been transforming the business with a new CEO at the helm.

Since September 2018, Links of London has been implementing a turnaround strategy and recent results suggest the business is turning around its fortunes.

Since launching its five-year transformation plan, Links of London has achieved one-off savings of £2.1m and annualized savings of £5.1m through the closure of five non-strategic stores, overhead reductions in the UK, and the closure of 15 stores in the US.

Giving Professional Jeweller an update on the turnaround success, the brand revealed sales in strategic stores are up 10% year-to-date verses -19% during the same period last year.

New collections have also resulted in strong sales, with the share of newness increasing from 4% to 11%.

Additionally, full retail gross margin has been up by 2.6%pp for the year to date – driven by the business running fewer discounting promotions.

Exiting the US physical retail market has also helped the brand, while in the UK it has posted a 13.5% cost reduction for 2019 so far. This has been driven by the closure of 16 stores and head office reshaping, as well as central overhead and marketing cost reductions.

Links of London is projecting full-year UK trading profits to be up by 14%.

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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