Birks & Mayors is all about sealing a partnership with marriage. The company (formerly Henry Birks & Sons) was founded in 1879; in 2005 it was joined with its former partner firm, Mayors Jewelers (through which it already had expanded its distribution network, and of which it already owned a majority stake), and took its new married name, Birks & Mayors. The company designs, manufactures, and sells diamond and fine gemstone jewelry, as well as luxury timepieces (Patek Phillipe, Rolex), sterling silver, and gifts, through about 60 stores in metropolitan areas of Canada (under the Birks and Brinkhaus brands) and in the US in Florida and Atlanta, Georgia (under the Mayors banner), as well as two retail websites.
In addition to its retail jewelry stores, which account for more than 90% of total sales, Birks & Mayors operates a corporate sales division, a wholesale division, and an online business.
With 32 of its 57 stores in Canada, Birks & Mayors rings up more than half of its sales in Canada. The US once accounted for the majority of the company's sales, but with so many of its jewelry stores in economically hard-hit Florida, the tables have turned.
The luxury jeweler rang up about $302 million in sales in fiscal 2012 (ends March), an increase of about 11% vs. the prior year, and eked out a small profit for the first time in four years. Despite the sizable gain, sales were still below the pre-recession record set in 2008 of nearly $315 million. Still, with sales in both Canada and the US on the rise, the business appears to be recovering from the deep slump brought on by the global financial crisis and consequent weak demand for pricey jewelry and watches. Canada outperformed the US in fiscal 2012 posting a 12.5% increase in sales vs. 10.5% for US banner Mayors. The relatively weaker performance of the US jewelry stores is indicative of the slow recovery in Florida, which suffered tremendously during the recession and housing crisis.
In response to the economic downturn, Birks & Mayors trimmed its store count in both the US and Canada and consolidated its manufacturing operations to cut costs. Now with the recovery gaining traction, the jewelry chain is returning to growth mode. In fiscal 2011 it opened a store in Orlando, Florida under the Rolex brand name that sells only Rolex brand timepieces. The opening of the store was an optimistic move by the company that appears to be paying off. Indeed, in fiscal 2012 Rolex merchandise accounted for about 26% of Birks & Mayors' total sales. Spending on new stores and renovation has quadrupled since 2010. To give its US retail business a boost, the company launched a new store format, called Mayors by Birks, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in 2010. The new concept links the Mayor and Birks brands and carries a wide selection of Birks brand products, including the Birks bridal collection and Birks Living lifestyle brand of home goods.
Montrovest B.V. owns more than two-thirds of Birks & Mayors' shares. – less