Sources at Links of London have categorically denied rumours that the business is preparing for a CVA or that parent company the FF Group is looking to sell the British jewellery chain.
Reports emerged last month that the jewellery brand could be the next British retailer to consider a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in order to reduce rents, close stores and shore up its finances, with the Daily Telegraph reporting yesterday that the Folli Follie Group could sell Links of London in order to stave off insolvency after an accounting scandal involving its business in Asia.
The situation has heaped pressure on Follie Follie, but sources told Professional Jeweller this morning that Links of London has received no indication of the FF Group preparing for a sale of the business, and that it is not planning a CVA.
Reports that Deloitte has been appointed as a financial advisor to the FF Group are correct, but sources insists that as one of the group’s companies, Links of London is only working with the auditing specialist within that capacity.
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.
Total like for like retail sales increased by 3% for the year to date (up to March 31, 2019) – the company’s first growth in three years – while the UK brand’s websites sales experienced 14% growth during this time.
Additionally, retail gross margin has been up by 2% for the year to date.
Links of London is now in the process of reorganising its e-commerce platforms to simplify operational complexity, reduce overheads, and localise payment/ delivery options across all countries.
This turnaround strategy has been led by the company’s new chief executive officer, Annia Spiliopoulos, who joined the company in September last year.
Martin Byrne, who was previously the head of the UK & Ireland business, is now supporting the Links of London turnaround on a global basis in the capacity of global chief operating officer.
A spokesperson for Links of London told Professional Jeweller: “Links of London has been implementing an operational turnaround of its business, and continues to be supported by the Folli Follie Group. The turnaround plan has been in effect since September 2018 and is part of the execution of a five-year strategy driven by global CEO, Annia Spiliopoulos, and the Links of London management team.
“The strategy is to evolve Links of London into a luxury lifestyle brand with new collections and collaborations. At the company’s heart is creating jewellery and accessories that celebrate British design and its heritage of craftsmanship in silversmithing and goldsmithing. Product ranges for a new generation of jewellery consumers will be underpinned by a focus on marketing, storytelling, customer experience and e-commerce.”
Marketing for Links of London is now focused on elevating its brand positioning, driving aspiration, and attracting a new generation of jewellery consumers.
The firm’s latest collection launch, Wholehearted, featured an up and coming model and 90s supermodel in the campaign, which has been driving strong results for the brand (4% increase in share of newness of the total business in year to date vs. 2018).