Full-year 2011 results another win for Aurum

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Full-year 2011 results another win for Aurum

Earnings, profits and sales rocket while debt plummets.

Aurum has continued its strong turnaround with a sparkling set of full-year results for the 12 months to January 29 with earnings up 38%, operating profit up 53% and like-for-like sales up 10.2%.

Throughout the period the retail group, which operates Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb, continued to focus on its six-point turnaround strategy that leads it to focus on high-margin jewellery, watch leadership, e-commerce, enhanced customer experience, improved operating efficiency and investment in people.

The deployment of this strategy led to earnings hitting £22.5 million, operating profits rising to £18.3 million and like-for-like sales topping £300.6 million.

Cash flow also improved by £7.5 million, an uplift of 239% on last year. Aurum achieved net debt reduction of more than £5 million in the period.

Online sales at the group inched up 10.7% while in store it succeeded in reducing discontinued stock to record lows.

Aurum chief executive Justin Stead said: “2011 has been a very exciting year for us and we are delighted with our brands’ performance. We are also very encouraged by the consistent positive sales trend experienced throughout the year, which demonstrates the strength of our six-pillar strategy.

“We don’t expect retail conditions to improve materially in 2012, however we remain confident that we are now in an even better position to continue to deliver growth in the future. Our results reflect the outstanding partnership we have with our key commercial brands and support partners. The entire Aurum team is to be congratulated on this world class performance as we continue to deliver the Aurum vision for our customers and clients every day.”

Major milestones for the company in the past year included the launch of three Boutique Goldsmiths, a newly developed fashion-focused watch and jewellery store, and the launch of Watches of Switzerland’s transactional website.

A major strategy at the group this year will be the revamp of its Mappin & Webb chain. While the store delivered double-digit growth in the period to January 29, the retail group feels that there is potential for the further development of this brand and a new store design will be rolled out in June supported by a marketing initiative that focuses on its English heritage.

Aurum chairman Don McCarthy said: “I am extremely pleased with our performance over the year despite the difficult trading environment. I would personally like to thank Justin and his team for delivering another record set of numbers. There is no doubt that 2012 will remain challenging, however I am certain that the business is well positioned to continue to drive significant growth.”

Aurum is still in the process of trying to sell the business. Commenting on the sales process, the group said: “The group remains in a very controlled sales process. Interest remains high and the board is patiently reviewing potential new shareholders who will continue to back the current management team and further strengthen the existing growth strategy.”