Eighty years after its launch and just six months after a major rebranding, Bevilles has entered into voluntary administration which is expected to lead to the closure of some of its 27 stores as well as the loss of nearly 250 jobs.
Announcing the decision in an official statement, CEO Michelle Beville said the company had developed a proposal to restructure the business and ensure its survival.
She said the proposal was in line with the company’s strategy, announced in January last year, to phase out giftware and focus on smaller, smarter new-look jewellery-only format stores.
Beville said the company’s first such stores, in Liverpool (NSW) and Highpoint (Victoria), had demonstrated this was the right strategy for the brand to move forward with.
“However, we have been constrained by external factors that have not allowed us to move to the new formats as quickly as planned,” she said.
“It’s no secret that shopping centre landlords are constrained and agreements can be difficult to alter or break.
“In January 2013 we announced we wanted to close six stores across the Victoria and South Australia regions, including Doncaster, Greensborough, Moorabbin and Southland in Victoria and Elizabeth and Marion in South Australia by the end of the year, however only one of these stores, Moorabbin, was able to close its doors.
“This meant we weren’t able to move forward into our smaller, smarter new-look jewellery-only format stores quickly enough,” she said, “and this created financial strain on the business.”
Beville, the grand-daughter of Bevilles’ founders Leo and Rae Beville, said the company was aiming to minimise closures and retain as many employees as possible.
“One of our end-of-lease stores, Bevilles’ Doncaster in Victoria closed last week, and we expect that over the coming weeks there will be announcements of further store closures we’re not sure of the exact number at this point in time.
“Any decisions regarding redundancies will be made during the administration period, but we expect approximately 47 full-time, 190 part-time and 10 casual redundancies will be made, and approximately 230 will be retained under our proposed restructure.”
She concluded that although it was a difficult decision to enter voluntary administration, “we believe this path offers the best possible outcomes for everyone and helps ensure that this much-loved 80 year old brand continues”
Leo and Rae Beville founded Bevilles in 1934 with a store in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall. The store featured homewares but expanded to include jewellery and diamonds in the late 1950s.
Late last year Bevilles underwent major rebranding which included a new logo and tagline, along with “an enhanced store experience” featuring a fresh colour scheme and a streamlined layout.
At the time, Beville told Jewellery World: “We listened to what our customers wanted and refreshed the brand with a focus on what we do best – beautiful quality jewellery at always affordable prices.”