Asprey profit unlikely till 2008

The troubled 225 year-old fine jeweller and accessories firm Asprey has revealed that it will probably not realize a profit until 2008, two years after its initial forecast. Chief executive Gianluca Brozzetti predicted that the company, which was saved from administration earlier in the year, would break even within 12 to 14 months. Sales for the seven months to October fell 2 percent to £11 million. However, disregarding the effects of the closure of the store in Trump Tower in New York , sales would have climbed 13 percent. According to the company, well-to-do British, American and Russian customers are starting to buy more Asprey products, with bestsellers including the Asprey-banded Alligator handbags, chronograph watches and diamond jewellery.

Asprey was acquired in March by Sciens Capital, a private equity firm and Plainfield Asset Management, a US hedge fund for between $80 million and $100 million. The jeweller recently opened its 18 th store at Takashimaya in Tokyo and retail sales in the first seven months of the year have risen 8 percent. Stripping out the effect of the store closure in New York , the rise would have been 35 percent.

“We are on track with the new owners, who are financially disciplined, helpful and efficient,” he said. The house’s former owners, Lawrence Stroll, Silas Chou and Edgar Bronfman Jr, overexpanded the brand, which cost the firm dearly. The jeweller Garard, also owned by the threesome, was sold to The Yucaipa Cos, while Asprey’s sale was the result of a management buyout, in which Brozzetti was involved. Since then, the company has been working hard to reduce costs but cutting staff and consolidating rents and office space.

WWD has reported that the jeweller now plans to open a permanent store – moving from its temporary premises on 57 th Street -on Madison Avenue as part of its expansion plan. The store is set to open in April in a property encompassing 6,000 square feet. Asprey declined to comment.

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