Local jewellery market faces major shake up

PROUDS The Jewellers have returned to WA and are poised to bring their national rivalry with Edments and GoldMark to the west coast.

The eastern states-based chain has already opened stores at the Galleria and Carousel, but it is the Perth flagship store that is planned as a catalyst to the jeweller’s rapid $5 million west coast expansion.

The grand opening of the city store, located close to William Street in the Hay Street Mall, will be followed by the opening of a further three Prouds stores in shopping centres in Belmont, Innaloo and Rockingham.

“By the middle of next year we are planning to have 12 stores open,” company chief executive officer Mike Russell said.

“We realised that to succeed we could not just open up one store ... we’ve set aside $5 million to invest in building and stocking a series of stores with cutting edge lay-outs and unique jewellery.”

Mr Russell expected the company’s main WA rivals to be Edments, GoldMark and Zamels rather than the upmarket traders such as Rosendorffs and Mazzucchelli’s or small, one-off boutique stores.

Prouds also plans to challenge retail giant David Jones for a share of the giftware market, as up to two thirds of some its store will be stocked with gifts.

Prouds will open its flagship store later this month and the location, according to Mr Russell, could not be better.

“We recognised the site was brilliant. In fact much of the decision to expand was based on the opportunity to move into that store,” he said.

Under the leasing deal, brokered by Burgess Rawson retail and office leasing director Con Passaris, Prouds will move into an 800sqm premises that previously housed one of its competitors, Edments.

Both the Australian Jewellers Association (WA) president Brian Seiver and the Retail Traders Association manager Brian Reynolds welcomed Prouds into WA despite the fact that the retail sector was still experiencing hard times.

“I think competition is a good thing in any industry and Prouds is a well known and well respected jeweller,” Mr Seiver said.

“ Like any other retail sector we have been hit in the past year but I think it is more a case of the slump in the Australian dollar affecting imports, rather than the GST.

“And also the fact that consumers have been more cautious about what they choose to spend their money on.”

Mr Reynolds said while there was evidence the retail sector was on its way to a sustainable recovery, the WA retail sector was still under-performing.

Prouds left WA about six years ago during the break up of Universal Retailers Group, of which it was a part, and has since concentrated on “brining its house in order” before attempting to relaunch itself in WA, according to Mr Russell.

The family-owned company, which has a history that dates back to the late 1800s, is one of Australia’s biggest jewellers and specialises in mid-range priced jewellery and giftware.

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