Christie’s is planning to close its second London saleroom in South Kensington by the end of this year, it announced last week. The shake up is part of a review of the company’s operations, which are increasingly focused on Asia and online sales.
“We are considering shifting more sales into our key regional hubs and online,” says Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s chief executive officer. “This means we are now considering consolidating into one sales site in London and changing our sales offering in Amsterdam.” Cerutti says around 250 of Christie’s 2,200-strong work force are likely to lose their jobs as part of the review.
The South Kensington venue opened in 1975 and holds auctions of less-expensive art and memorabilia–categories that are increasingly finding traction online. Last year, Christie’s online-only sales doubled in volume, bringing in £50m.
Meanwhile, following the opening of flagship offices and exhibition spaces in Shanghai in 2013 and in Beijing in 2016, Christie’s saw 35% of its new business come from Asia last year. In a further shift away from Europe, the company is due to open another gallery in Los Angeles next month.