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Silvermoon set to make its mark on the North Is

South Island jewellery retailer Silvermoon set to make its mark on the North Island

National jeweller Silvermoon tomorrow opens its 14th New Zealand outlet at Sylvia Park in Auckland, its biggest move into the North Island since it launched six years ago.

The Christchurch-based retailer has 10 outlets in the South Island and also shops in Porirua, Lower Hutt and Manukau.

Chain founder Simon Thwaites said today they were ready to ``get serious’’ about fully expanding into the North Island.

``We plan to open our 15th outlet at Westfield's Chartwell shopping centre in Hamilton before Christmas. We are currently in negotiation with Westfield and other North Island landlords for further possible sites."

Silvermoon opened its first store in Dunedin in 2000 and now has its head office in Christchurch.

NZ malls traditionally had costume jewellers - with fast fashion and throw away accessories; and elite jewellers with diamonds and gold, Thwaites said.

Silvermoon believes it has found a niche by servicing the market between the two levels.

``We focus on areas that established jewellers ignore, such as bone carvings and body jewellery, while also specialising in silver jewellery.

``We aim at people who want jewellery for themselves or a friend, but don't want to spend a fortune and who want the jewellery to last.’’ A typical Silvermoon carries a variety of over 7000 different pieces of jewellery. Their philosophy is that shopping should be fun, and therefore non- intimidating.

They operate mainly from kiosks (11 of the 14 outlets are kiosks in shopping malls).

Thwaites owns 10 of the 14 stores, and is a co-owner in the remaining four stores in the deep south.

``Shop openings are a difficult balancing act - you want to be diligent and make sure that you don't rush, but at the same time we are constantly being approached to open in more and more centres.

``It's tempting to accelerate, but we don't want to make mistakes. We've focussed on securing the high profile mall locations,’’ Thwaites said.

``We soon hope to able to turn our attention to the regions, particularly in the North Island. Ultimately we need more outlets to raise our profile and cement Silvermoon as a truly national brand.

``Because of our price point, Silvermoon could be one jewellery brand that benefits from a slowing economy, as shoppers look for quality gifts at a reasonable price.’’


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