TJX Companies Acquire Sierra Trading Post

by John Sealander  

TJX Corporate Headquarters

Many See TJX Companies Recent Acquisition of Sierra Trading Post
As an Affirmation that Online Retail is Here to Stay

TJX CompaniesTJX Companies is a retail powerhouse, with thousands of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods locations throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. When it was announced on December 21 that this off-price apparel and home fashions retail giant had purchased one of the world’s largest off-price Internet retailers, the business world took notice.

Increasingly, successful retailers need a viable e-commerce strategy to survive and prosper in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Customers have quickly grown to love the convenience and economy of buying online and online sales continue to grow year-after-year.

As one of the world’s leading off-price online retailers, Sierra Trading Post shares many characteristics with T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods stores, offering their customers great values on branded apparel, footwear and home furnishings. According to Carol Meyrowitz, Chief Executive Officer of The TJX Companies, the acquisition of Sierra Trading Post strengthens the opportunities for growth within the TJX family of companies. “Sierra Trading Post has a very loyal customer base, strong vendor relationships, and operates with a low cost structure,” says Meyrowitz. “Their deep Internet retailing experience will serve as a complement to the strong e-commerce team we have already built within the TJX organization.”

The Role of E-Commerce in Today’s Retail Enviroment

Luxury goods retailer Samuel Friedmann, owner of Gevril Group, finds TJX’s acquisition of Sierra Trading Post indicative of the future in retail. “A comprehensive e-commerce strategy is a critical component in any successful retailer’s business plan.” For Friedmann, online retail is here to stay, and it appears that it is here to stay for TJX Companies as well.

Sierra Trading Post, which launched its e-commerce business in 1999, has already grown to over $200 million in annual revenue. As an integral part of the TJX family of companies, this Internet powerhouse will play a key role as the company continues to develop an e-commerce capability that benefits TJX’s value oriented customers. “We are confident that TJX can help grow our new Sierra business profitably through our buying scale, marketing and our other capabilities,” says Carol Meyrowitz. When that happens, everyone benefits.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

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Hermès To Make Its Own Watch Movements

by John Sealander  

Inside Hermès Boutique Paris

At Hermès, if you want to ensure quality and uniqueness, you make it yourself. It’s surprising they waited this long to make their own watch movements.

HermèsHermès silk scarves and leather goods are known around the world for their impeccable quality and timeless beauty. Since the company was founded in 1837, they have rejected mass production and continued to make most of their luxurious products by hand.

The Hermès ArceauWhen the company launched La Montre Hermès in 1978 and began to produce fine timepieces, they didn’t have the capabilities to make timepieces entirely on their own. Unlike their handmade scarves and handbags, Hermès timepieces were made in partnership with other fine watchmakers like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Baume & Mercier. Hermès would buy components from other watchmakers and then assemble the finished product.

This arrangement worked well for many years, but it wasn’t really the way the company liked to operate. With customers from Queen Elizabeth II, to Grace Kelly, Martha Stewart, Madonna and Nicole Kidman willing to wait up to a year for the painstaking handmade quality only Hermès master craftsmen could deliver, the company knew it was time to manufacture its own watch movements as well.

The Need For In-House Manufacturing

To make their own mechanical movements, dials, and watch cases in-house, Hermès invested over 26 million dollars to acquire a stake in movement maker Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. They also acquired a significant stake in case maker Joseph Erard Holding and bought the Swiss dial maker Natéber outright.

According to Luc Perramond, chief executive of La Montre Hermès, the consolidation of the watch industry has made it imperative for luxury goods companies like Hermès to have their own manufacturing capabilities. “With fewer and fewer independent suppliers,” says Perramond, “there is a danger of losing access to your strategic components in the future if giant suppliers like Swatch Group decide they don’t want to deliver parts to companies like ours.”

Luc Perramond shouldn’t have to worry now, since Hermès can now make its own fine mechanical timepieces in-house. Samuel Friedmann, owner of Gevril Group, agrees that it’s crucial to produce in-house movements. With today’s consolidation in the watch industry the need to produce in-house movements has never been greater.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

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Gevril Survives Hurricane Sandy

Flooding Caused by Hurricane Sandy


by John Sealander  

Hurricane Sandy Hits Close to Home for Gevril Group

On October 29, 2012, one of the most damaging Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history devastated New York and New Jersey, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines, and cutting power to millions of people throughout the Northeast. Rockland County, located in upstate New York and home to Gevril Group, felt the full wrath of the storm. The Gevril Group headquarters in Valley Cottage, New York was completely without electric power and heat from October 29, when the storm moved ashore, until November 5.

With electricity now restored, the Gevril Group staff has returned to work, trying to catch up on a full week’s worth of activity. Serving customers around the world, Gevril staffers know it will be a big job to get things back to normal, but they are grateful to have the opportunity.

Hurricane Sandy Damage to a Gevril Retailer Hurricane Sandy Flooding, Shop Owner Looks On
Hurricane Sandy Damage to a Gevril Retailer Hurricane Sandy Flooding, Shop Owner Looks On

Gevril Group founder Samuel Friedmann says his heart goes out to employees, friends and neighbors in the surrounding area who suffered severe damage, and in many cases, are still dealing with closed roads, damaged buildings, severe flooding, and loss of life. It will take months before the area can fully recover from this devastating storm, but like all New Yorkers, the citizens of Rockland County are determined to make the best of things.

Downed Trees and Power Lines Caused by Hurricane Sandy Downed Trees and Power Lines Caused by Hurricane Sandy

The effects of Hurricane Sandy have been felt in at least 24 states from Florida to Maine. The worst of the storm hit very close to home for Gevril, with storm surges along the Hudson River all the way from Stony Point to Palisades in Rockland County. New Yorkers have always been resilient and their response to this unprecedented natural disaster is nothing short of remarkable. As the Northeast gathers its resources to rebuild, Gevril Group joins with its friends and neighbors in praying for a speedy recovery.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, directed by company founder and long-time creative force in the watch business Samuel Friedmann, is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Additionally, Gevril Group operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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Harry Winston Sale Rumors

by John Sealander  

Harry Winston Storefront NYC

Is the Harry Winston Watch and Jewelry Business For Sale?

Harry WinstonWhen Reuters and Women’s Wear Daily reported recently that luxury goods powerhouse Harry Winston was looking for buyers for its lucrative watch and jewelry business, it caused a lot of speculation within the watch industry.

There has been a trend towards consolidation within the watch industry for many years, and if Harry Winston were to be purchased by a luxury conglomerate like LVMH or PPR, as it has been rumored, it could confirm the fears of some that a few large companies could control the entire industry.

Consolidation in the Luxury Industry

Premier luxury brands are already controlled by various different conglomerates. Brands such as Zenith, Hublot, TAG Heuer and Bulgari, are controlled by luxury conglomerate LVMH; IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Panerai and Piaget by Richemont; and Blancpain, Omega, Tissot, Rado, Balmain, Breguet and Hamilton by Swatch Group. In fact Swatch Group has gained so much influence recently, that it makes the movements that power the majority of the world’s timepieces. Only a few brands, like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Fortis, Gevril and Breitling remain truly independent.

While Harry Winston has issued a statement denying that its luxury business was for sale, it has not closed the door completely. Regarding the recent rumors in the press, a Harry Winston spokesperson said, “The company does not intend to make any further public announcements regarding this matter unless it concludes that they are warranted by the circumstances or are required by law.”

This isn’t the first time there has been speculation about the sale of Harry Winston assets. Just last year, it was the giant Swatch Group that was rumored to be eyeing a Harry Winston acquisition. Whatever happens, it is safe to say that the trend toward consolidation will continue.

The Value of In-House Manufacturing

According to Gevril Group owner Samuel Friedmann, as fewer and fewer of the world’s leading brands have the capacity to manufacture their own watch movements, they will need alliances with the conglomerates simply to stay in business. “In this environment, a company that that can manufacture watches completely in-house is more valuable than ever before.” You can probably guess what company Samuel Friedman is talking about.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Reader comments are welcome.

Gevril Group Names Bob Bruno Chief Financial Officer

For Immediate Release

Bob Robert BrunoJuly 9, 2012, New York, NY – Gevril Group appointed highly respected financial and strategic executive Bob Bruno as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Bruno will implement best-in-class systems and practices that will enable the company to continue along its ambitious path of growth and profit.

Bob Bruno’s professional experience includes C-level positions within wholesale, retail, and manufacturing, as well as extensive experience in the luxury goods industry. Bob was CFO and COO at famed luxury handbag manufacturer Judith Leiber and for ten years, he headed up the luxury watch division of Bob Robert Bruno at WorkTime Products where, among his notable accomplishments, he developed ERP systems for well-known watch brands like Audemars Piguet and Blancpain.

Bob Bruno’s specialties include budgeting, forecasting, inventory control, cash management and cost containment. Bob received his MBA in Finance from Long Island University and his BS in Accounting from St. John’s University.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, directed by company founder and long-time creative force in the watch business Samuel Friedmann, is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Additionally, Gevril Group operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Like us on Facebook.

Federal Agents Shut Down Scores of Counterfeit Websites

Counterfeit Watches Seized in 2009 by the Gresham, Oregon Police Department

by John Sealander  

Counterfeit Watches have been a Problem for Centuries
But Now They’re Being Sold through Counterfeit Websites

Forgeries of fine watches have been a serious problem since the eighteenth century, when German watchmakers started producing watches falsely signed with the names of well-known English makers such as George Graham and Eardley Norton. In the nineteenth century, renowned names like Breguet became popular targets for forgers. Today, the problem is worldwide, with an estimated 40 million counterfeit watches coming on the market each year.

What many people may not realize is that one of the most popular ways of selling counterfeit watches today is through the use of counterfeit websites. Some of these fake websites so closely resemble the official websites of famous brands that it is virtually impossible for even the most discerning customer to tell the difference. To make the problem even worse, the replicas being sold on these websites have become so realistic that they are being sold for the full retail price. Customers sometimes don’t even know they have bought a fake until it is time to send their watch in for servicing.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has become increasingly concerned about the growing problem of counterfeit websites. Recently, Federal agents seized and shut down 70 websites that were illegally selling sophisticated counterfeit merchandise, including popular luxury watches. Some of the websites seized in this sting were so sophisticated that they even used SSL certificates, which are generally used to safeguard financial information.

According to watch industry insider and Gevril Group founder Samuel Friedmann, “We must do more to fight this threat. Counterfeit websites should be reported to authorities, and buyers should be vigilant when purchasing a fine timepiece online.

“Make sure you know who you’re buying from,” says Friedmann. “While there are many reputable online retailers, it’s still very important to be careful. The more desirable the timepiece, the more it will be copied.”

The 70 domain names recently seized by Federal agents bring the total number of Internet domains seized by the ICE in the last two years to 837. With a problem of this magnitude, perhaps the safest way to buy a fine timepiece is to go to a trusted quality jeweler or watch store. To view Gevril Group’s list of authorized fine watch dealers, visit the company’s Where to Buy web page. This page is not a fake! It’s simply the best way to find an authorized watch dealer in your area.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Reader comments are welcome.



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