Pandora jewellery and Bering timepieces have found their way onto the wrists of young Cambodians, as a timely venture into the Kingdom is paying off handsomely for Sandara.
Not all that glitters may be gold, but Sandara Industry and Development Company Ltd’s prospects are shining bright after bringing two celebrated Danish brands to the Kingdom.
The company acquired the exclusive Cambodian distribution rights to the Pandora and Bering Time brands in 2018 and has rapidly expanded its retail presence in around 18 months.
“Part of the mission of Sandara is to bring affordable products to the local market, and our retail arm has been active with Pandora and Bering,” CEO Thierry Tea told The Post from his office in the capital’s Daun Penh district.
“We have plans to open new stores, but we are waiting to see if the market will be stronger next year,” he said of the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on retail stores.
“We have seen more decisive buyers, despite overall sales having dropped due to less foot traffic in malls and lower disposable income. Most shoppers look for the best products and are more selective in their shopping behaviour.”
Pandora is the largest jewellery retailer in the world in terms of total volume and is behind only Cartier and Tiffany & Co in terms of gross sales.
Last year Cambodia became the fastest-growing market for Pandora in Southeast Asia, Tea said.
Already a household name across the world, Pandora products have captured the hearts of young, urban professionals due to their ever-changing yet timeless design.
Tea said that Pandora was excelling in the Cambodian market due to its digital reach and its commitment to “affordable luxury”.
The brand’s number one seller is its charms collection. The trend encourages people to purchase mementos and link them onto their bracelets – presumably one from Pandora.
“Each Pandora design has its own meaning, touching on family, friends and precious moments. The charms are a lifelong journey because after clients finish one collection, they start another,” said brand manager Bun Kolsalyta.
Along with the jewellery brand, Sandara also runs three Bering Time stores. The Danish brand produces sleek, modern watches emblematic of minimalist Scandinavian design.
“Pandora is famous all over the world, but I have to admit that we were a bit hesitant with Bering in the beginning. However, we are pleasantly surprised with how well the Cambodian market has embraced the style of the product and the brand value,” said Tea.
Total revenue for Pandora and Bering in Cambodia totalled more than $1 million last year.
Tea added that Sandara has seen year-on-year growth of 80 per cent over two years.
The firm was planning on opening two new outlets this year, but the Covid-19 pandemic has temporarily thrown cold water on expansion plans.
As a result, the company has streamlined its digital sales platform and is already recording sales through Facebook and its website.
“In 2018 to 2019, we achieved 80 per cent year-on-year growth. This year we initially forecast 30 per cent growth. With Covid-19, we will probably do minus 30 per cent or minus 50 per cent compared to 2019.
“However, we have maintained our staff and taken measures for their safety and also the safety of our customers”
“Overall, retail businesses across the world have been impacted. This is a good time to strategise our next move because the entire business community is in the same boat.
“We are very confident that our brands are going to come back even stronger,” said Tea.