LONDON — A&G Group is poised for growth.
The parent of the Asprey and Garrard brands has reported a 74 percent increase in sales year-on-year to $22 million in the six months ending Sept. 30, and a major rollout plan in markets including Japan and Russia. The privately held company also expects its operating results to break even by the finish of the 2005 fiscal year, which ends on March 30, 2006.
“We are extremely happy to have concluded the first phase of development with our major store openings, and now are excited about phase two — store development,” Gianluca Brozzetti, chief executive officer of A&G Group, said in an interview. “We are in line with the plans we announced three years ago.”
Brozzetti, who is currently attending the Tax Free World Association Exhibition in Cannes, said about 20 percent of A&G’s sales now come from Asprey’s new product categories such as shoes, clothing, silk and fashion accessories. He said the bulk of growth, however, still comes from the traditional categories of jewelry, watches and silver at both Asprey and Garrard, which now have 11 points of sale combined.
Brozzetti also quashed rumors of an ailing Asprey flagship in Manhattan.
“The New York store is growing extremely well. Both the New York and London flagships have seen triple-digit rates of sales growth,” he said, adding that, over the past four months, footfall at the London store was 50,000, while in New York it was 25,000.
That news should please investors, who plowed a combined $100 million into the New York and London units. Shareholders in A&G Group include Lawrence Stroll and Silas Chou, who originally purchased the company; Edgar Bronfman Jr.; the Luxembourg-based TAG Group, a holding company and the former owner of TAG Heuer watches, and Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, which took a 20 percent stake in A&G Group in February.
Brozzetti said future drivers of growth would be new Asprey and Garrard stores, an expansion into travel retail and the new fragrance Purple Water, which launches in the spring. By the end of 2005, Asprey and Garrard will have opened 15 new doors, 10 for Asprey and five for Garrard in the U.K., Japan, Dubai, Moscow, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Last month, both Asprey and Garrard opened suites in Tokyo that offer personal shopping. During the next five years, eight Asprey stores and two Garrard units will open in that country.
The Asprey stores will range from 810 square feet to 1,080 square feet, while the Garrard units will range from 432 square feet to 540 square feet. Brozzetti said the company is studying and exploring the possibility of opening an Asprey flagship in Japan, although nothing has been decided.
Garrard will open its first, 700-square-foot store in Moscow in December, while the first Asprey unit in the city — a 2,160-square-foot store — will open at the end of 2005.
Meanwhile, Asprey will open its first travel retail shop at Heathrow’s luxury goods-packed Terminal Four in December. That space will span 324 square feet. Brozzetti said the plan is to expand further into travel retail in the spring with units in other airports and sales on board airlines.