LONDON — The downsizing at Dunhill is stretching across the Atlantic.
Alfred Dunhill said in a statement it will shutter its unit on London’s Old Bond Street in February. A spokeswoman for Dunhill’s parent, Compagnie Financiere Richemont, said the closure is part of a previously announced restructuring plan.
“The closure is part of strategic location thinking. We have to close some stores to make other ones work,” she said. The spokeswoman declined to say whether there would be further closures in Europe.
In March, Richemont said it planned to downsize troubled Dunhill’s retail operations in the U.S. and focus largely on wholesale activities in that market. In 2002, Dunhill’s sales fell 7 percent, and combined losses for the Dunhill and Lancel brands were $117 million (107 million euros). Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange.
Dunhill’s store, at 21 Old Bond Street, opened in April 2001 and is little more than 300 yards from the brand’s historic location at 48 Jermyn Street. The statement said the Old Bond Street unit was redundant.
“Both stores are of flagship proportions…and both have the capacity to offer bespoke tailoring, watchmaking and customization services,” the statement said. “After much reflection, it was felt that 21 Old Bond Street is too close to the brand’s key heritage site for a store of this size.”
The statement added that the Jermyn Street unit would be renovated starting early next spring. The company has recently finished refurbishing its other heritage site at 15 Rue de la Paix in Paris.
As reported, in the fiscal year ending March 31, net profit at Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG plummeted 22.3 percent to $700 million (642 million euros) from a combination of falling sales, a rising euro, losses at the Dunhill and Lancel divisions, as well as restructuring and investment costs.
Financial analysts applauded Richemont’s decision to downsize Dunhill and Lancel.
“Richemont was in denial about the Dunhill and Lancel businesses, which are incurring massive losses. They needed to make some tough decisions, and now they’re on the road to recovery,” said Andrew Gowen, an equities analyst at Lehman Brothers in London, earlier this year.Two years ago, Richemont had embarked on a relaunch for Dunhill with plans for a worldwide rollout of 250 new generation stores over a five-year period. The company’s goal has been to remove Dunhill from its reliance on sales in Asia and restore it to its roots as a quirky, man-of-leisure brand.
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