Behold the ring. A symbol without beginning or end. Understandably a popular choice for those professing fealty. Pandora, the Danish jewellery manufacturer and retailer, craves such loyalty. Happy customers not only buy its mainstay charms and bracelets, but plenty of rings, too. The company reported its best ever fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Full-year net earnings totalled DKr3.1bn, which was above expectations. The shares rose 17 per cent.
The good news is that rings have indeed lured more customers in to the franchise. The proportion of group revenues from rings has swollen from 6 per cent to 10 in just a year, to DKr1.2bn. That beat the company’s target by a fifth. But this shift has not taken the gleam away from charms — still two-thirds of sales. Not only did group revenues jump in the quarter by 40 per cent, but charms alone grew more than a third. Gross margins for the full year increased four percentage points to 70 per cent.
Yet there is still work to do. Pandora would like to make a better fist of Asia. Japan may remain a tough market for the company, especially with high real estate prices in key shopping districts. China though does offer more for Pandora’s affordable luxury brand. The company looks to retailers such as Swarovski as role models and wants to have 200 shops in China by 2017, up four times. Germany could use a shine as well. Despite its wealth and size, at DKr578m it registers less than a third of the UK’s sales.
Pandora caters to those shopping for gifts. It has given one to shareholders by offering to recycle its excess cash flow, post capital expenditure, to shareholders via increased buybacks and dividends.
Chief executive Allan Leighton will shift back to a non-executive role as deputy chairman just when operating profit margins (at 34 per cent) approach record highs. His successor must ensure that Pandora’s gift keeps on giving.
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