Renowned Scottish jeweller Michael Laing today announced his retirement in a move that will reunite his Edinburgh-based business with its Glasgow counterpart.
Laing, who said he had enjoyed a “wonderful journey” at the helm of the family firm, which traces its roots back to 1840, is selling Laing The Jeweller and Parkhouse The Jeweller – together known as LEPH – to Laings of Glasgow, which is run by his niece Wendy Walsh and her husband Joe.
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The deal sees the reunion of the original family business, which was split in 2005 when Michael Laing took ownership of its Edinburgh store, along with Parkhouse sites in Southampton and Cardiff, while his brother Stuart retained the two existing shops in Glasgow.
Laing said: “Over the last 47 years, I have had a wonderful journey in our industry and growing Laing through very fast-changing times. It is more than a business to me, it’s a passion.
“For the last year, I have been considering the best way forward for the business to continue to thrive and grow. Since 1840, our family business has been passed between siblings throughout the generations. Today represents a significant milestone for the Laing family as we re-merge the businesses to once again become one.”
Today represents a significant milestone for the Laing familyMichael Laing
He added: “It has been a privilege to have played my part in creating this re-merger to evolve to become one of the UK’s largest independent luxury jewellers. With my retirement, Joe Walsh, Stuart’s son-in-law, will take the helm of the business with our managing director Jonathan Payne and my son Richard and our fabulous team, will steer the Laing family business forward through the next phase of its journey, retaining the professionalism, family values and warmth of customer service that both we and our customers enjoy.”
Earlier this year, the firm announced the rebrand of Parkhouse to the family name, and the enlarged group – employing 130 people – will now operate seven shops across the UK under the Laing brand – three in Glasgow, two in Edinburgh, one in Cardiff and one in Southampton.
Funding for the acquisition has been provided by Clydesdale Bank. The “multimillion-pound” facility will be used to support the acquisition and provide additional resources for possible expansion.
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Walsh said: “We’re delighted to have this unique opportunity to ultimately bring the companies back together. Michael and his team have built a very successful business and it’s an honour to build on his legacy and help to take the family business to the next stage of its evolution.
“This is a good time to be involved in our industry, with demand for high-end watches expected to reach £1.7 billion over the next five years and jewellery revenues projected to expand by 4.3 per cent this year.”
Andrew Carson, senior director for corporate and structured finance at Clydesdale Bank, said: “Laings is a fantastic family business with ambitious management and owners, and a truly impressive heritage. It’s hugely rewarding to know that we can play a part in helping the two firms join forces once again, and build on the success of the last 175 years.”