LONDON — Georg Jensen, the Danish homeware and fine jewelry brand, has turned a profit for the first time in a decade.The privately owned company said profit in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31 was 8 million Danish kroner, or $1.5 million, compared with a loss of 128 million kroner, or $24.7 million, in 2009.All figures have been converted from the Danish krone at average exchange rates for the relevant periods.Sales, meanwhile, rose 10 percent to 847 million kroner, or $157.5 million, from 768 million kroner, or $148.3 million. Growth was driven by Asia, not including Japan, and the Scandinavian markets. Growth in the U.S. was in the double digits, the company said. “We used 2009 to clean up our operations, which means we started 2010 with a clean house and a great platform for growth,” Ulrik Garde Due, the brand’s chief executive officer, told WWD. “We’re in the black for the first time in 10 years, and our overheads are in line with our turnover,” he said.Garde Due is a little more than halfway through a five-year plan aimed at streamlining operations, fine-tuning products and burnishing Georg Jensen’s image with the aim of becoming the Scandinavian global luxury lifestyle brand.The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Scandinavia Group, whose majority shareholder is the private equity fund Axcel. Axcel also owns another Danish homeware brand, Royal Copenhagen.Over the past two years, Georg Jensen has closed 23 stores and opened 15 others with a homey new design concept and a warm, midcentury-modern feel. A “kitchen counter” with bar stools where customers can sit, have a coffee or a glass of Champagne and view the merchandise is at the core of every store. The newly refurbished store on London’s New Bond Street opened last month.Garde Due added the brand also was expanding rapidly in China, where it will have nine stores by the end of the year.This year, the company plans to push deeper into Europe and the U.S., associating itself with multibrand fashion retailers. In April, during Milan’s Salone del Mobile, Jensen will launch its Masterpiece collection at 10 Corso Como. The collection features iconic pieces, such as the curving pitcher and tray by the silversmith Henning Koppel, in stainless steel. In May, Masterpiece will roll out to Dover Street Market in London. Garde Due said Masterpiece would launch in the U.S. this summer, although he declined to confirm the name of the retailer.Also in April, the company will introduce a version of its Koppel Pendant watch — updated by Verbal and Yoon, the Japan-based, husband-and-wife design duo. The watch will come in five colors and cost 500 pounds, or $805. Jensen also plans to launch its updated, international Web site in the U.S. on April 1. The company’s first major ad campaign was unveiled earlier this year, and Garde Due said it would run for the duration of the year. It features the Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen, partially nude and adorned with the brand’s jewelry in a stately looking dining room filled with fruit, cheese, flowers — and silver Georg Jensen tableware.
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