Watches of Switzerland unveils new Goldsmiths branch in Edinburgh

The new store at Fort Kinnaird is Edinburgh's second Goldsmiths. Picture: Contributed
The new store at Fort Kinnaird is Edinburgh's second Goldsmiths. Picture: Contributed
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Watches of Switzerland is ­bolstering its presence in ­Scotland, today unveiling a new Goldsmiths outlet in Edinburgh.

The luxury retail group, which recently opened the doors to a relocated Omega store on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, is launching today in Fort Kinnaird retail park. Glaswegian boss Brian Duffy told The Scotsman that the firm – which listed on the ­London Stock Exchange in a £647 million flotation in June – is performing well north of the Border.

Glasgow-born CEO Brian Duffy says Watches of Switzerland is targeting growth in Scotland. Picture: John Devlin

Glasgow-born CEO Brian Duffy says Watches of Switzerland is targeting growth in Scotland. Picture: John Devlin

He said the group’s first-quarter results, including an 11.8 per cent rise in UK sales to £155m, were representative of the performance in Scotland, adding: “People tend to think we’re very London-focused but it’s not true. Our performance in Scotland was strong – and as strong as the rest of the country.”

The group, which also trades as Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb and Mayors, has also been planning to convert a Watches of Switzerland store on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street into a Rolex boutique.

While this had been scheduled to open before Christmas, it will now be spring 2020 due to design delays. The forthcoming shop, the first of its kind outside London is “a huge deal” for the group, said Duffy.

Targeting 'underdeveloped' US market

Watches of Switzerland is also putting down roots in the upcoming Edinburgh St James development, with monobrand Breitling and Omega stores, as well as a Goldsmith’s. It comes as Duffy is keen to grow the group’s presence in Edinburgh.

Watches of Switzerland is also located in Dundee and Gleneagles, where it is looking to expand on the back of ­success with its Rolex and Mappin & Webb divisions.

The group is set to report its half-year results for the six months ended 27 October on 10 December.

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It is currently preparing to enter the main festive trading period, when business can grow by 60 to 100 per cent in the six weeks running up to Christmas, according to Duffy.

Turning to the US, he said performance in the country is “going great”, highlighting initiatives such as a tie-up regarding a range of exclusive luxury trainers, appealing to a “younger, hipper” and affluent demographic.

Speaking to Scotland on Sunday earlier this year, Duffy highlighted that the group was aiming to deepen roots in areas such as Florida, Las Vegas and New York, calling the market “underdeveloped” and in need of more of high-quality, big store retailing.

First-quarter revenue in the US market was up by about 40 per cent to £54.4m.