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Michael Hill
Michael Hill

Michael Hill to expand in America

New Zealand fine jewellery retailer Michael Hill revealed ambitions for more than 500 stores in the US at the unveiling of its “Ultimate Engagement Ring” at New York’s Rockefeller Plaza last week.
The jeweller’s decision to expand comes after a barnstorming first quarter.

Last June, the retailer closed nearly half of its stores in America, taking its store count in the country from 17 to nine, all of which are in the Chicago area.

Back then, chairman Michael Hill said the nine stores which remained open were the “stores with the most promise”.

But at the time of the store closures, chief executive officer Mike Parsell said the company was planning for future expansion.

“When the economy starts to improve and we become satisfied with the financial return on the model, we will start to expand,” he said back in June.

Michael Hill recorded a leap in sales for the first quarter of the new financial year, with a 17.5 per cent increase in same store sales for the remaining nine stores in the US.

The nine stores are among 40 around the world that have recently been refurbished to complement what the retailer is calling its “fifth generation” global store design.

Hill said he would assess the performance of the nine refurbished American stores before he finalised the locations of the new stores.

Besides the expansion of its US retail presence, Hill also revealed a  move towards self-branded stores exclusively. According to US trade publication National Jeweler, Hill said the company’s diamonds would be laser-inscribed with a propriety mark and its own-brand products, such as Michael Hill watches, would be emphasised in their marketing campaigns.

Michael Hill first started in 1979 when Hill opened his first store in Whangarei, New Zealand. He launched in Australia in 1987 and expanded into America in 2008 by acquiring 17 stores in Illinois and Missouri from defunct Whitehall Jewelers.

Michael Hill currently has 9 stores in the US and 30 in Canada.

More reading:
Michael Hill continues to soar
Michael Hill plots global diamond ring contest
Michael Hill earnings soar
More stores for Michael Hill
Michael Hill closes stores

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Thursday, 23 May, 2019 01:33pm
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