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Store Closures Impact Birks Sales

Jul 5, 2021 8:38 AM   By Rapaport News
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Canada-based jewelry retailer Birks Group saw sales slump for the full fiscal year as the coronavirus pandemic shut many of its stores.

Revenue slid 16% to CAD 143.1 million ($115.9 million) in the 12 months ending March 27, the company reported recently. Comparable-store sales — at branches open for more than a year — fell 14%.

All of the retailer’s locations were closed during the first quarter, while stores in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba were shuttered for intermittent periods throughout the rest of the year. A 201% surge in e-commerce partially offset the weakness in brick-and-mortar sales.

Birks has reopened most of its 29 shops, except for nine in Ontario, which are still closed under government orders until at least July 6, it noted.

The company recorded a loss of CAD 5.8 million ($4.7 million) for the year, compared to last year’s loss of CAD 12.8 million ($10.4 million). The improvement stems from a reduced reliance on sales promotions and discounting, as well as foreign-exchange gains resulting from the appreciation of the Canadian dollar. Birks earns money in Canadian currency, but pays much of its debt in US dollars.

The jeweler also benefited from lower operating costs, as it implemented temporary wage cuts and negotiated a reduction in rental fees, it explained.

“We have navigated through the challenges brought about by Covid-19 during the past fiscal year and...we ended the year stronger than we started,” said Birks CEO Jean-Christophe Bédos. “Looking forward, I believe that the actions we have taken since the start of the pandemic, and our lessons learned, have placed the company in a stronger position in terms of customer focus and dedication, innovation, and productivity, which we can leverage to fuel long-term growth.”

Image: Birks Group’s Toronto flagship store. (CNW Group/Birks Group)
Tags: birks, birks group, Coronavirus, Jean-Christophe Bédos, Jewelry, Rapaport News
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