Beville family reacquires 80-year-old jewellery business

The Beville family has reacquired the 80-year-old jewellery chain that bears its name, announcing today the company will be renamed Bevilles Corp and led by chief executive Michelle Beville.

The announcement comes exactly one month after the iconic business collapsed. While the Beville family had initially indicated its intentions to keep the $70 million company in the family, the company called for external expressions of interest just days after appointing voluntary administrators.

The company said in a statement the acquisition will save 250 jobs in 16 stores across three states. At the time of entering administration, the company employed 477 people across 27 stores.

Michelle Beville told SmartCompany the reacquisition did not involve a financial payment, with the family proposing a deed of company arrangement that was voted on and approved by creditors. 

Beville said the company will now focus on smaller, jewellery-only stores, which will be approximately half the size of previous outlets.

The new-look stores, which have been trialled in Liverpool, NSW, and Highpoint in Melbourne’s west, will focus on selling diamonds and watches in a “fresh and inviting” store atmosphere. 

In addition to the two trial stores, four Bevilles outlets will be converted to the new format before Christmas this year, with the remaining 10 stores to follow suit in 2015. 

Beville said the cost structure of the previous larger stores, which were made up of 50% giftware, was one of the factors which led to the company entering voluntary administration at the beginning of April, along with “significant changes in the retail environment”.

“The pilot program … proves that the smaller, smarter, new-look, jewellery-only format is the right strategy for the brand to move forward with,” said Beville in the statement. “The 16 stores that have been retained are best suited to this successful new format.”

“It’s great to know that the Bevilles brand will continue and we have the opportunity to realise our strategy and continue to sell beautiful quality jewellery,” said Beville.

“We also acknowledge that while this is a positive outcome for the brand, there are a number of people that will no longer be with us. We wish them all the best as they too have been a big part of the Bevilles brand,” she said.

Bevilles was established in 1934 and is headquartered in Melbourne.


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