A.S. Cooper To Sell Part Of Business To Phoenix

June 19, 2019

One of the oldest names in Bermuda’s retail sector, A.S. Cooper & Sons, announced an agreement to sell part of its business to Brown & Co, a subsidiary of The Phoenix Stores Ltd.

“Effective September 1, 2019, The Phoenix Stores Ltd will take over the lease, inventory and staff of the A.S. Cooper’s 7,500 square foot, ground floor business located at 59 Front Street,” the announcement said.

“Included in the transaction are exclusive cosmetic and fragrance brands such as Estee Lauder, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Jo Malone, Bare Minerals and Shisheido.

“Also included in the deal are exclusive china and crystal brands, Waterford, Wedgwood, Villeroy & Bock, Kate Spade and Portmeirion alongside fashion jewelry lines Swatch and Swarovski Crystal [jewelry, accessories, watches and figurines] as well as the Picturesque Bermuda book and print business. The Phoenix Stores Ltd will operate 59 Front Street as a stand-alone store.”

A.S. Cooper’s Managing Director, Somers Cooper, said; “All ground floor staff and two buyers will become employees of the new entity under the same terms and conditions as their current employment. It will be sad to say farewell to so many loyal and hardworking members of the Cooper’s staff family but gladly nothing materially changes for them apart from the signature on their pay cheques. ”

Remaining A.S. Cooper retail locations include the Ladies’ department at 26 Reid Street, A.S. Cooper Man at 29 Front Street, Vineyard Vines at 27 Front Street and branch stores in Dockyard and the Fairmont Southampton Resort.

“Despite the global downturn in brick-and-mortar retail, we see strength locally in certain segments and brands, especially clothing and fashion. We will continue to invest in growth opportunities in the sector and aim to keep offering the buying public great name brand fashions at U.S. prices,” added Somers Cooper.

Mr Cooper said it was bittersweet to sell this part of the business which was started by his great grandfather, Alexander Samuel Cooper.

He said, “Beginning in 1897 he based the business on his love of fine china, crystal and glassware. Growth occurred when tourism took hold in Bermuda in the early 20th century. By then he had established strong relationships with European brands, some of which still exist today. As an example, we are Wedgwood’s oldest customer in the western hemisphere.”

George Grundmuller, President & CEO at The Phoenix Stores, said; “Our team is excited to add the ground floor of A.S. Cooper’s 59 Front Street to our group of stores and welcome its employees to our family.

“We believe this acquisition will complement our Brown & Co. operations and will add many world-class brands to our portfolio of exclusive lines. We intend to expand the business in the coming years and will work with suppliers to make this a top-notch retail location for Bermuda.

“Customers can expect the continuation of perfume and cosmetic lines offered at U.S. Duty-Free prices with new brands available shortly.”

The company noted that “once the transaction is complete on September 1, 2019, customers can use their existing Phoenix Stores Charge and Gift Cards for purchases at the new location and enjoy the many benefits this offers there.

“A.S. Cooper gift cards will no longer be accepted on the ground floor as of September 1st but they will still be redeemable at all other A.S. Cooper locations. A.S. Cooper gift card holders with questions or concerns are asked to email info@ascooper.bm or contact Somers Cooper at 295-3961 ext 268.”

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Comments (19)

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  1. wahoo says:

    How much?

  2. Retail is doomed! says:

    Silly move for the Phoenix Group! Is the goal to wipe out the competition? Retail is doomed in Bermuda. Everyone shops online these days. SMH

    • STFU says:

      Retail is definitely not dead! The products we consume regularly must be available locally. What is dead is bringing in products we don’t need! Many retail stores don’t get it. The retail business landscape has changed and unless it is something we use every day it makes no sense to bring it in as it can be special ordered from overseas! Example is Blucks. No one needs fine china on the regular.

    • STFU says:

      And parking is the root problem in Hamilton! Let’s face it no one wants to walk a country mile to get to a retail store! We need to have parking for cars and less loading bays and elongated side walks in Hamilton to get retail jump started! Just try it for a month and see what happens!!!

      • Y-gurl says:

        Hamilton has been designed by those who just graduated LEGO

        • Question says:

          Hamilton is 400 years old, stupid.
          LEGO isn’t a school, stupid.

          Y you so stupid, Y-girl?

      • bluenose says:

        A country mile? Oh no! have you visited major cities around the world?

  3. Madge says:

    More and more retail business will be closing.it is a matter of time that Coopers will close their doors,it is just the sign of the times,we get better deals on the internet…..who shops in Bermuda anymore ? I wonder how things are going at Gibbons Company ?

  4. Joe Bloggs says:

    Mr. Brown clearly still has confidence in Bermuda’s economy to reward him for the cost of this acquisition. I hope he is correct and I wish him all the best with this new line of business.

    • question says:

      So by the same token the sellers would not still have confidence in Bermuda’s economy. So which is it?

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        Some people just have to look for the negative in everything, even a message of best wishes, I guess

        • question says:

          Just suggesting a balanced view of it. There is a benefit to being realistic, I’d have thought.

          • Ringmaster says:

            More like AS Coopers see an opportunity to get rid of unprofitable lines and keep the profitable, plus the building and rent. Not rocket science. look at what they are selling to Brown & Co.

  5. Gold Coast Girl says:

    It’s not only in Bermuda. Recently there has been a lot of news about various (big-named) Department stores closing many of their locations, with thousands of people put out of work. Online shopping options, along with the exorbitant prices we pay for goods are what’s killing retail in Bermuda.

  6. Be Realistic says:

    Retail is suffering, however, the retailers do not help themselves. The issue is not necessarily price – look at Atelerie, HP at the Hamilton Princess, Lusso – all companies who have a high price point but on the face of it are thriving. The issue is the visual merchandising and the stock. So many stores pile their racks sky high with outdated clothes which will never sell. As a starting point, simplify clothes rails, have less stock which can be easily flipped through and have stock which is in fashion. Above all, have excellent customer service.

  7. Question says:

    ” Above all, have excellent customer service.”

    That’s not a part of bermudian culture