Australian Jeweller Michael Hill Plans to Double Canadian Store Count



Popular mid-priced Brisbane-based jeweller Michael Hill plans to almost double its Canadian store count, following the announcement that Michael Hill's daughter, Emma Hill, will take over the retailer's operations. 

Jeweller Sir Michael Hill and his wife, Christine, founded Michael Hill jewellers in New Zealand in 1979, and moved its headquarters to Australia in the late 1980's. The family continues to maintain a 53% ownership stake in the company. Michael Hill operates 300 jewellery stores worldwide, with locations in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada. Its first Canadian location opened at Burnaby's Metropolis at Metrotown in 2002, and it now boasts 60 free-standing Canadian boutiques. 

Michael Hill will reportedly open eight more Canadian locations this year, six locations in 2016 and six locations in 2017, bringing its Canadian store count to 80 by the 2018 financial year. Incoming chairwoman Emma Hill says that she sees room to eventually operate up to 110 Michael Hill locations in Canada. Revenue for the retailer's Canadian operations increased 14.6% to $79.1 million (Canadian Dollars) last year, allowing for increased spending on marketing and brand awareness. Its Canadian operations are profitable, according to Ms. Hill. 

Michael Hill's U.S. operations, however, continue to struggle. The company recently lost U.S. $1.9 million, up from a loss of U.S. $1.7 million a year earlier. Michael Hill currently operates nine stores in the United States, with plans to operate 19 American stores by the 2018 fiscal year. The company entered the U.S. in 2008 when it purchased 17 Whitehall Jewellers stores in Illinois and Missouri. 

Thank you Norman Katz, Director of New Business Development for Canada's Best Store Fixtures, for directing us to Inside Retail's article on the topic. 

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: August 19, 2015