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Article July 18, 1994

<CR><RD><BR><CS:BOLD>ASPREY PLANTS NEW GROWTH WITH SUNFLOWER LINE<BR><BR>Byline: </CS>WENDY HESSEN<BR><BR>NEW YORK -- Last October, Asprey PLC launched its Sunflower accessories collection here to expand its customer base with less expensive...


ASPREY PLANTS NEW GROWTH WITH SUNFLOWER LINE

Byline: WENDY HESSEN

NEW YORK — Last October, Asprey PLC launched its Sunflower accessories collection here to expand its customer base with less expensive merchandise than this fine-jewelry retailer is traditionally known for. Now Sunflower is sprouting some more expensive additions.
The move is a result of the initial success of the line, according to Philip Warner, vice president and chief executive officer of Asprey New York, the local arm of the London-based company.
“Our sales were four to five times our initial projections for the collection,” Warner said. “But we found that we missed opportunities with customers who loved the collection, but wanted more elaborate and expensive pieces.”
To date, the collection has sold $1.3 million, according to Warner, who said the sales projection for this year is between $1.5 million and $1.6 million.
The new generation of Sunflower merchandise will be rolled out at the second annual “Sunflower Week” promotion at Asprey’s store here the week of Sept. 19 and will feature several items that push the upper range of the jewelry collection to roughly $125,000 from last year’s high of about $11,000. The entry-level price point for the whole collection remains at around $475.
The firm is also adding watches to the group of jewelry, handbags, small leather goods and belts.
The Sunflower watch features an 18-karat gold sunflower-shaped face, with a strap in either matte alligator, a triple row of cultured pearls, carved black jade or an 18-karat gold flexible bracelet. Retail prices range from $4,500 to $12,500.
While the 18-karat gold sunflower motif is still prominent throughout the line, diamond accents have been added to some pieces.
Gems such as golden South Sea pearls, faceted natural amber, peridot and tanzanite are featured on some of the new pieces.
Asprey will also promote the group and other Asprey offerings in Los Angeles, where it does not have a store, with its first West Coast Sunflower Week, starting Oct. 12 at the Peninsula Hotel.
Asprey PLC has annual sales of $375 million. In addition to its Asprey stores here and in London, the company owns several fine-jewelry chains in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Paris.