The Business Year

Selim Chidiac, CEO of L’azurde

SAUDI ARABIA - Tourism

Selim Chidiac

CEO, L’azurde

Bio

Selim Chidiac joined L’azurde Company for Jewelry in 2010 and has developed the business into one of the world’s leading Middle East-based jewelry manufacturers. Prior to L’azurde, he worked with Red Bull for 12 years, most recently as CEO for the North America division. Chidiac started his career at P&G. He is a graduate of L’école Supérieure de Chimie Physique Électronique de Lyon. He followed that with postgraduate coursework at INSEAD, London Business School, IMD Lausanne, and Harvard Business School.

“We will continue to expand on our retail, product innovation, and technological investments and stay on top of innovation trends.”

Selim Chidiac, CEO of L’azurde, talks to TBY about milestones over the past year, facing global inflation, and collaboration with the Fashion Commission.

What have been your milestones in the past year?

Selim Chidiac: The past year was extremely successful for the company; we grew our revenues and gross margins significantly, which has led to higher profits. The company was able to leverage the COVID-19 crisis to transform and accelerate its growth. We saw the pandemic as an opportunity to make significant changes and transform the company by launching e-commerce platforms and enhancing our business model. The digital business development expanded our brand Miss L’ and grew the affordable fashion jewelry lines, which we then expanded to other distribution channels. 2022 was a rewarding year in terms of revenue, gross margin, and profit transformation. More precisely, we spent 12 months developing a new L’azurde retail concept store, which we recently introduced to the market. It started well and it highlights a great growth potential for the company through the roll-out across Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

How are you keeping market prices competitive in the face of global inflation?

Selim Chidiac: We have been able to deal with inflation in different ways. First, we invested heavily in automating our manufacturing process, relying more on machinery such as 3D printing, which helps us reduce expenses and offer competitive manufacturing costs. Second, we have introduced the concept of design-to-cost, setting a consumer target price for our designers, R&D team and production organization, in order to ensure we offer consumers the right products with the best value possible and the correct gross margin. Furthermore, because we sell more than 1 million pieces of jewelry per year, we have economies of scale, which help control costs and negotiate attractive commercial terms with our suppliers.

How has L’azurde grown in line with the growth in tourism, and how do you see the luxury jewelry market evolving?

Selim Chidiac: Tourism is still in its infancy and possesses immense growth potential. We notice a rapid growth the last few years and we think there is so much more to come in this area. We believe we can contribute to the growth of tourism by offering state-of-the-art retail experiences and unique jewelry brands from our region across shopping centers and in international airports. At the same time, we are also upgrading and expanding the TOUS franchise brand across Saudi Arabia. We are also working on establishing a larger presence in airports. Ultimately, tourism will have a large impact on shopping centers in the next three to five years. The KSA market looks promising in the future and holds many opportunities.

How is L’azurde helping Saudi Arabia become a global luxury retail hub?

Selim Chidiac: Our collaboration with the Fashion Commission allows us to scout up-and-coming designers, help them produce their designs, display their jewelry in our distribution channels, and assist them to grow as artists and thus help elevate the Kingdom’s position in luxury retail. Our collaboration also extends to universities to help develop the next generation of designers and artists. With the support of the Saudi government, we will take L’azurde globally. We recently attended the Global Travel Retail Fair in Cannes to bring L’azurde to international airports around the world.

What are your key priorities for the year ahead?

Selim Chidiac: We have many opportunities going forward. We will continue to expand our retail presence in the market and grow our e-commerce. Already, our online business represents 15% of our revenues and is growing rapidly. We are also launching a new technology that will offer consumers a better user experience on our platform. We are investing as well into omnichannel strategies, which means a perfect integration between our physical and online stores. We look forward to announcing a collaboration with new celebrities in the region to promote L’azurde, as we have done in the past. Finally, we will continue to expand on our retail, product innovation, and technological investments and stay on top of innovation trends.

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