Goldsmiths liverpool
Goldsmiths new double storey showroom in Liverpool opened in October.

Watches of Switzerland Group buys 19 Ernest Jones stores

All of the 14 acquired Ernest Jones multibrand showrooms will be converted to either Goldsmiths or Mappin & Webb outlets.

The Watches of Switzerland has agreed the purchase of 19 Ernest Jones points of sale: 14 multibrand showrooms and five monobrand boutiques.

Ernest Jones currently has around 180 points of sale in the UK, according to the corporate site of its parent company Signet Jewelers.

The acquisition will be completed this month, according to a statement from WoSG accompanying its latest quarterly financial results.

All of the acquired Ernest Jones multibrand showrooms will be converted to either Goldsmiths or Mappin & Webb outlets.

WoSG reported flat year-on-year sales in the UK of £215 million for the quarter ended October 30.

It was a quarter of many moving parts in the UK and Europe for the group.

Performance continues to be driven by domestic clientele across the UK.

A number of high turnover Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb showrooms were closed for upgrade during the period and were trading out of pop-ups.

These will reopen before Christmas, the company states.

WoSG joined the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned programme in the UK in September and is reporting “encouraging early client engagement and trading”.

A number of Goldsmiths showrooms were expanded and refurbished including Liverpool (pictured top), a Rolex-anchored location that is now the largest Goldsmiths Luxury showroom in the country.

Monobrand boutiques opened for Breitling in Newcastle, while in Bath the group opened Breitling and TAG Heuer boutiques.

The group opened its ninth monobrand on the Continent, with a Breitling boutique in Gothenburg.

UK and European sales in the group’s second quarter were an improvement on the first quarter and bring the first half of the financial year to a close with sales down 4% year-on-year from £454 million to £433 million.

WoSG’s share price shot up at the opening bell from 531p to 599p — a three month high — before falling back to 560p by 9am.

Cheerier news comes from the group’s American business, where turnover increased by 11% to £165 million in Q2, although the weaker pound trimmed growth at reported rates to 4%.

Watches of Switzerland opened in the New Jersey retail and entertainment complex American Dream in October and added six monobrand boutiques to its network for Breitling and TAG Heuer.

WoSG has been part of the Rolex CPO programme in the United States since July, and in the UK since September, and CEO Brian Duffy says the group is encouraged by the early response as “clients react strongly to the authenticity and guarantee of quality that the Certified Pre-Owned seal represents”.

Despite a challenging first half to its current financial year, WoSG has not changed its forecast for the whole of FY2024, which ends next April.

Mr Duffy says that major showroom upgrades in the UK will reopen before Christmas, as is a Rolex boutique in Orlando.

Turnover for the year is expected to hit £1.65 to £1.70 billion, up 8 to 11% at constant currency, with profits flat year-on-year at £165 million.

WoSG has also announced it will open a dedicated Mappin & Webb luxury branded jewellery showroom in FY25 in Manchester. It will includes De Beers’ first boutique outside of London.

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  1. Rob you seem better informed than the Ernest Jones staff who are affected by this. The staff in question are still waiting for confirmation by their employers, whom ever that is.

  2. Sorry to hear about this uncertainty. My reading is that Watches of Switzerland has secured the future of the EJ stores it has acquired, and is looking forward to welcoming staff into the fold.

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