Ben Bridge Jeweler has signed a letter of intent to transfer control of its 37 Pandora stores in the United States and Canada to Pandora Group.
The transfer halves the number of stores in Ben Bridge. Following this transaction, the Seattle-based retailer will have 36 locations.
Ben Bridge is currently the largest Pandora franchisee in North America. The transaction is scheduled for March. Neither party has commented on the sale price, although Pandora says it will provide more information when the deal closes.
“It’s exciting for both brands,” said Lisa Bridge, President and CEO of Ben Bridge. ” It is the right time. It’s time for us to focus on our Ben Bridge business. We’ve evolved so much over the past few years that we wanted to be able to focus on delivering the right experience to our consumers. »
Bridge says the lean company is exploring new opportunities. He is moving his downtown Seattle flagship after 90 years to a “spectacular” new store.
“We can take strategic action,” she says, “[and] test some things.
He is also looking for ways to grow the business.
“We will definitely grow, whether it’s in the number of stores or in other ways,” she says. “Growth is definitely the direction, and now we have the fuel and the focus to be able to do that.”
She notes that Ben Bridge just had his most successful year.
“It was just phenomenal,” she says. “2021 has been really extraordinary, really for the whole [jewelry] industry. We really were the right product with the right message at the right time. The cake is bigger than any of us thought. We need to think about how we grow from here and how we make sure it’s not just a moment. »
Ben Bridge has been operating Pandora franchise stores since the spring of 2010, when it opened five Pandora stores.
Prior to its recent resurgence, Pandora said it had reconsidered its past policy of buying out franchise stores.
Pandora spokesperson Johan Melchior says JCK that now that the company is “back on the growth path, we want to expand [our] network.… We will consider opportunities on a case-by-case basis as they arise, for example, when licenses expire or when there is a mutual interest in a transfer of ownership.
Bridge adds: “It was a conversation between the two of us. From my perspective, it’s just a continuation of them wanting to have control of their network and a better understanding of their consumer.… We pretty much represent the entire West Coast for them.
She says it will be “bittersweet” to say goodbye to so many employees.
Ben Bridge, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company owned by Warren Buffett, said it will continue to carry Pandora products in five of its stores and on its website.
In a statement on Monday, Pandora said its preliminary results for the fourth quarter of 2021 exceeded its initial guidance. The company says organic growth for 2021 increased by 23%, beating its guidance of 18% to 20%. Total revenue and sales will likely be the highest ever for Pandora, he said.
Pandora’s U.S. sales for the fourth quarter of 2021 were up 18% from 2020 and 42% from 2019. Total U.S. sales for 2021 reached DKK 7 billion , or $1.07 billion.
(Photo courtesy of Pandora Group)
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