Why the UK’s Leading Jeweler Bought Mayor’s

Aurum Holdings, the leading jeweler in the United Kingdom, says its purchase of Mayor’s Jewelers is part of a larger plan to enter the U.S. market.

Aurum is paying $104.6 million to the Birks Group for the 17-store chain, which includes 16 Mayors stores and one Rolex boutique.

The Mayor’s acquisition is “the biggest deal we have ever done,” says Aurum CEO Brian Duffy. “It’s a huge huge deal for us.

“We have admired Mayor’s for some time,” he adds. “It has a similar culture as our own. There are things we can learn from Mayor’s. There are things we can bring to Mayor’s. We hope to accelerate investment, by investing in stores, investing in marketing, looking to see what opportunities are available.”

Aurum also owns Watches of Switzerland, a U.K. multibrand watch retailer which next year will open its first U.S. retail store at Hudson Yards in Manhattan. Duffy says the company is responding to what it sees as a gap in the market—the U.S. doesn’t have many multibrand watch stores. Once the Watches of Switzerland store in New York City opens, Aurum hopes to expand the concept into other markets.

Despite an uncertain climate, Aurum still sees considerable potential in the U.S. market.

“The U.S. is one of the biggest markets in the world,” he says. “There is a lot happening in retail. Obviously, there are some challenges but America doesn’t stand still for too long. There are always new developments, like Hudson Yards. We see a lot of opportunity.”

In addition to Watches of Switzerland, Aurum also owns Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths, two prominent U.K. jewelers with roots going back to the 1700s.

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JCK News Director

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