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Swarovski Says an IPO Could Propel Jeweller's Digital Growth

The jewellery brand has annual sales of about €3.4 billion, and an IPO could raise its digital profile and scale in North America.

DAVOS, Switzerland — Nadja Swarovski, a fifth-generation member of the crystal dynasty, said an initial public offering would help the brand raise its digital profile and gain scale in North America, though such a move is not on the table right now.

If the closely held Austrian company were to go public, the family would keep a hand in the business, Swarovski said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. About 70 members own stakes in the jeweller, founded by Daniel Swarovski in 1895.

“Maybe we can structure an IPO so that the family feels a connection to it,’’ she said. “It’s not a hot topic for us right now, but we are always brainstorming.’’

Upgrading the digital strategy is crucial amid the rise of Amazon.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Swarovski said. Luxury-goods companies LVMH and Kering have bolstered their online offerings in recent months with new e-commerce sites in China and elsewhere. Swarovski is expanding beyond jewellery with home goods and eyewear, and it’s seeking licensing partners for a perfume line.

Swarovski has annual sales of about €3.4 billion ($4.2 billion), with the crystal business accounting for €2.6 billion of that. China is the biggest market and there are about 2,800 stores worldwide.

Nadja Swarovski, the first woman on the company’s executive board, has spearheaded a drive to raise the brand’s profile through collaborations with fashion designers such as Kering-backed Christopher Kane and the American brand Rodarte, whose crystal-encrusted tutus for Natalie Portman in the movie “Black Swan” became one of the most iconic costumes of recent cinema.

The collaborations have pushed the company’s products into the fashion spotlight, allowing it to add pricier pieces to a jewellery lineup that offers necklaces for as little as $69. The company is also launching a line of “conscious jewellery’’ dubbed Created Diamonds as part of a strategy to target millennials and brand-aware consumers, Swarovski said.

By Jacqueline Simmons and John Fraher; Editors: Eric Pfanner, Thomas Mulier.

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