Glasgow-headquartered jeweller Laings polishing up physical presence as sales jump by nearly two-thirds
The business, which was established in 1840, is now in the hands of the sixth generation of the Laing family, and says it is one of the largest independent jewellery businesses in the UK. It states that it has committed £10 million to enhancing and expanding its physical presence, including its recently expanded showroom in Cardiff, which it said has already made a major contribution to its performance and post-Covid recovery, and the move to new 9,000-square-foot premises in Southampton into which £3m is being invested. The total sum also includes the establishment of a state-of-the-art watch workshop and full refurbishment of its head office, as part of a wider £5m major renovation programme within the Rowan House building on Buchanan Street, details of which were announced in April.
Laings, which is also present in Edinburgh, on George Street, added that revenues have grown by 62 per cent to £60m in the 12 months to May, its first full year of trading to be unaffected by lockdown restrictions in three years. Pre-tax profits also rose, to £5.4m from £2.8m, which it said was supported by “healthy” growth in online sales and strategic moves such as the introduction of the first mono-brand showroom with Omega in Cardiff, where performance "has continued to exceed expectations”.
Chief executive Joe Walsh pointed out “strong” recovery in demand for luxury jewellery and watches, and said its retail stores are the “cornerstone” of the business. “It is vital that we continue to invest for the future, making our physical assets as enticing and engaging as possible,” he said. “Our online experience has also dramatically improved.”
The business said continued investment remains a top priority for the year ahead, encompassing hiring and continued staff training and development – including a focus on highly skilled roles such as watchmaking and goldsmithing – to exclusive brand collaborations and new partnerships. It also flagged recent senior appointments such as that of Brian Nelson as retail director, coupled with plans for sponsorship programmes to support craftspeople and designers from overseas.
Mr Walsh continued: “This is a very exciting time for us as a brand and these investments demonstrate our commitment to bringing our clients a luxury retail experience every time they visit. Our turnover growth reinforces the decisions we have made to drive the business forward during a highly challenging few years in the retail industry. We look forward to bringing our current enhancements to fruition and to further securing our role as an industry leading, luxury destination across our UK store estate.”
The update comes after fellow luxury jewellery and timepiece retailer Watches of Switzerland last week reported that group revenue in the 26 weeks ending October 30 reached £765m, a year-on-year jump of 31 per cent at reported rates. “We're gaining market share, we're maintaining all of our investments and overall doing well,” said Glaswegian chief executive Brian Duffy.
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