THOM Europe’s strategy: expand internationally by acquisition, while preserving local brands

Romain PeninqueIn 10 years, THOM Europe has become the European jewellery leader. Romain Peninque, CEO, lifts the veil on his acquisition strategy.

THOM Europe uses Stroili to penetrate the Italian market

 THOM Europe acquired Stroili only in 2016, but had been mulling its strategy for expanding into Italy for 10 years. “We started by opening around 30 Histoire d’Or stores in the Milan area to study the market and the competition” said Romain Peninque. This strategy enabled THOM Europe to identify three similarities with the French market: good representation in shopping centres, similar price positioning (price point around €65, vs. €80 in France) and a large and fragmented market estimated at €7 billion, with a strong potential for consolidation. The group then set its sights on Stroili, Italy’s jewellery leader, with 400 boutiques and €220 million in annual sales. “There were numerous synergies and obvious upsides, in particular with regard to margins, optimizing working capital and e-commerce.” THOM Europe now plans to align Stroili with a complementary brand, either Franco Gioielli, a subsidiary of Stroili, or Histoire d’Or. “Determining the best option is the current subject of discussion.”

Complementary domestic brands for a strong European group

 In contrast to other highly globalized sectors such as fashion, jewellery tends to be localized. “The design of jewellery and the way it is worn vary a great deal from one country to another”, explained Romain Peninque. For this reason, THOM Europe keeps the brand name it acquires in each new market, enabling it to continue benefiting from customers’ brand recognition in their own country. Italian company Stroili is not THOM Europe’s first foray into the acquisition arena. “THOM Europe is all about build-ups,” said Romain Peninque. He gave the examples of the 300 Marc Orian stores integrated into Histoire d’Or in France and the German Oro Vivo chain acquired two days after Stroili in September 2016.

Integration, meanwhile, can be adapted to the company and the target market, keeping in mind that the synergies are significant. Head office functions are integrated first, then local functions, then IT support (web back office) and logistics. “Integrating IT and logistics is simple but requires method and organisation. For this reason, we move step-by-step and will wait, for example, until we completely integrate Oro Vivo’s IT and logistics between now and September 2017, before taking a closer look at Stroili’s.”

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