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Auction house Christie’s is closing its South Kensington sale room, which since 1975 has been selling lower-price artwork and furniture than its King Street headquarters.
“We are now considering consolidating into one sales site in London,” chief executive Guillaume Cerutti said. King Street is thought to be safe.
Alongside holding fewer sales in its Amsterdam rooms, there are likely to be 250 job losses, according to the New York Times.
Mr Cerutti said Christie’s had to adapt to where their clients were; in 2016, 39 per cent of new clients were from the Americas and 19 per cent from Asia. Clients from the Americas were responsible for 37 per cent of sales, from Asia 31 per cent.
Christie’s sales fell 16 per cent from £4.8bn in 2015 to £4bn in 2016, a decrease of 16 per cent, although its online-only sales increased 106 per cent to £49.8m.
Mr Cerutti said in a statement:
Christie’s continues to adapt to meet the needs of our clients and plan for the future as every business must. Following our success in leading the development of online-only art sales and growing our global client base through our investments in Asia and other regions, we are considering shifting more sales into our key regional hubs and online. This means we are now considering consolidating into one sales site in London and changing our sales offering in Amsterdam.
On Tuesday, Christie’s post-war and contemporary art sale fetched £96.4m, 65 per cent up on last year. Last week, Christie’s flagship Impressionist and modern art sale made £136.9m, up from £95.9m last year.
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