Gucci Buys Boucheron

May 24, 2000

Gucci Buys Boucheron

On Tuesday, Italian luxury goods firm Gucci Group NV purchased Paris-based luxury watch and jewelry firm Boucheron from its Swiss-based owner Schweizerhall Holding AG for about $145 million.

Boucheron, with a store on Place Vendome in Paris, was founded in 1858 and only last year begun distributing its fine watches to high-end retailers in the U.S.

"This purchase give us the the means to realize our growth goals much more quickly in the U.S. and internationally," said Vice President of Sales Kari Allen, who heads U.S. operations at the firm's New York City office. Allen said the brand's plans include distributing jewelry and possibly opening a flagship store in the U.S.

The purchase gives Gucci a new luxury name as it vies to compete in the increasingly consolidated luxury timepiece market. Its competitors, including Vendome, LVMH and the Swatch Group, also added luxury watch brands in recent months.

Gucci, which last year bought Yves-Saint Laurent, also recently expanded its move into jewelry as it bought back licenses for Yves-Saint Laurent branded watches and jewelry.

- by Michael Thompson