Swarovski reveals plans for brand acquisitions

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Consumer goods CEO Robert Buchbauer plots long-term company growth.

Robert Buchbauer, Swarovski’s chief executive of its consumer goods business, yesterday announced plans to acquire high quality jewellery brands, part of the company’s 2020 Vision program. 

Buchbauer, an executive member of the Swarovski board, spoke at a press conference on the first day of BaselWorld, addressing Swarovski Group’s current global position, turnover, brand development and plans for the future.

According to Buchbauer the Swarovski consumer goods element is working to become the global jewellery market leader with a portfolio of brands under its belt. He described a three-part vision for the business entailing organic growth, development of in-house brands and concepts, and finally an acquisition strategy in which Swarovski will take over established jewellery brands.

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Buchbauer told Professional Jeweller that he the acquisitions will be of existing jewellery brands with the intention of “finishing off” Swarovski’s portfolio. Swarovski will consider brands of various types but any potential acquisition will have to satisfy a strong criteria, for example being a quality brand with a significant hold in the market place. The acquisitions are plotted for the next five to six years, ahead of the year 2020.

The conference also gave Swarovski a chance to outline its latest global business figures.

Swarovski Group’s 2012 turnover totalled €3 billion (£2.56bn), with 70% of sales from Swarovski consumer goods such as its jewellery and watch collections, 22% from Swarovski Elements and 8% from Swarovski Gems and other areas of its offer.

More than 30 million pieces of Swarovski jewellery were sold last year, with the brand’s statistics likening this to about one piece of jewellery sold worldwide every two seconds.

Swarovski has also recorded a three-fold increase in sales of its men’s jewellery and watches in the three years since its first men’s pieces were launched, with a 30% growth rate in 2012.

The brand currently operates 2,300 stores globally, 1,300 of which are owned and operated. It is said to be number one in the global fashion jewellery sector and number three in the global branded jewellery market.

Swarovski has also refurbished more than 50% of its 2,300 stores and says that it is already planning the next generation of store designs tailored to making shopping more convenient. It will also expand it Lola & Grace jewellery stores – which debuted in the UK in 2012 – into wider European markets, specifically Italy.

New collections from the brand include a major line based on the Silk Route, taking inspiration from Venetian jewellery design, the ying and yang symbols and the mountains of the Himalayas.

It has also undertaken a large-scale collaboration with French jewellery brand Shourouk with a line called Swarovski by Shourouk, featuring large crystal collars, baroque drop earrings with using emerald-hued stones and multiple crystal pendants on neon pink chains, which will launch in the coming months.

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