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De Beers Jewellers has pinpointed Asia as its area for expansion after global revenue fell last year, according to accounts the company filed at the end of September. 

Revenue dropped 6% to $98.6 million in 2017 amid a “more demanding customer environment,” the retailer said. Its net loss widened to $37.6 million from $12.1 million the year before due to an impairment charge — a permanent reduction in the value of an asset — and the impact of currency fluctuation. De Beers’ retail unit sells in various local currencies around the world, but reports in dollars. 

Revenue from the company’s Asian stores fell 10% to $34.6 million, while sales in the UK plunged 26% to $16.4 million, and those in the Middle East dropped 7% to $16.7 million. Europe saw a 17% rise to $21.5 million, and sales in the US climbed 18% to $9.3 million. 

The jeweler outlined plans to accelerate growth in Asia in 2018 by opening new stores in China and Hong Kong that it would operate directly. The region is the jewelry retailer’s strongest, comprising 14 stores at the end of 2017, as opposed to 16 the year before, the company said. De Beers Jewellers also has six stores in North America, seven in Europe, versus nine in 2016, and four in the Middle East — one more than the previous year. In accordance with UK rules, it files accounts several months after the end of the year, providing financial results, and an outlook for the year that is now well underway.

“The company intends to accelerate its growth in greater China, become a truly omni-channel fine-jewelry brand, whilst making a positive financial contribution to its now sole shareholder,” the jeweler said, referring to the De Beers group, which bought out LVMH’s 50% share of the company in 2016. 

Throughout 2018, De Beers Jewellers will review its store network, closing some locations, and opening others in Asia, it added. 

So far this year, De Beers Jewellers has opened stores in multiple locations, including Hong Kong, Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

Image: De Beers Jewellers’ Harbour City store, Hong Kong. (De Beers Jewellers)

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