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Rox plans to expand in department stores

JEWELLERY company Rox is ­planning to expand by having its own brand creations stocked in upmarket department stores in the UK and overseas during the second half of 2014.

BRAND: Kyron Keogh and Grant Mitchell, who run the Rox jewellery chain, outside their Glasgow store. Picture:  Mark Mainz.
BRAND: Kyron Keogh and Grant Mitchell, who run the Rox jewellery chain, outside their Glasgow store. Picture: Mark Mainz.

Kyron Keogh, managing director, said the business had also appointed an in-house head of design after a two-year search but he could not yet name the individual.

He confirmed the company had no plans to open additional stores next year after outlets in Edinburgh, Leeds and Newcastle were all launched in the past 12 months.

Instead Mr Keogh is targeting growth from a source which will need less capital investment than new retail locations.

He said: "Next year the focus is on getting the Rox brand into wholesale locations. We are targeting groups likes Harrods, Selfridges, Neiman Marcus in North America and places in Dubai as well.

"Things have been bubbling along in the background for the past six months to get the ducks into place and we think Rox jewellery has massive potential outside our ­existing store locations. With a ­relatively low investment we can get jewellery into other premium luxury locations. We don't need to invest in stores and people but we need to get out on the road and make partnerships."

The new head of design is ­relocating from London where she has been working for a large jewellery company.

Mr Keogh said: "This person will go across all of our ranges and make all of our products exclusive."

Mr Keogh would like to ­manufacture more ranges in ­Scotland but said the skills base here is limited, which has forced Rox to go to London to get the majority of its designs made.

As well as more of a push into wholesaling its own creations, Mr Keogh is keen for the company, which he runs with childhood friend Grant Mitchell, to secure more exclusive distribution deals with luxury watch brands.

That comes after the business has seen its average transaction size grow in the past year following tie-ups with Swiss brands such as Bregeut, Ulysse Nardin and Hublot.

Talks with several other brands are ongoing.

Mr Keogh said: "We always felt our watch offer never really matched our jewellery offer. Five years ago we saw real substantial growth with fashion jewellery but that has now slowed down. We recognised we needed to shift our business as we saw that trend coming.

"We had always had an eye on the luxury watch market but the distribution for these brands is quite carefully controlled.

"We had to prove we were a luxury retailer so invested in our stores with the likes of our thrill rooms in Argyll Arcade and Edinburgh and [the watch brands] started to see us as a credible alternative."

Another plan being considered for the future is to use one of the company's retail stores in Argyll Arcade, where there is one Rox outlet along with Lewis Grant and Antwerp Diamonds, into a specialist watch location.

Mr Keogh said: "We have got a number of other brands we are ­talking to and thinking about ­innovative ways to represent in a retail environment. We could use one of our other stores in the Argyll Arcade and perhaps could flip one of those into a watch boutique. We are constantly looking at ways to grow our business."

Mr Keogh said staff had been given additional training to enable them to speak to potential customers more knowledgeably about the watch market.

He said: "Trade-ins are one of the options which are a big part of the watch market and we are just beginning to get to grips with that.

"We recognise we have to be able to accommodate that and are also realising we have to be an authority on all things watch-related.

"You really need to know what you are talking about in this market and we have had to invest in training to get our staff up to speed on the knowledge they need."

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