Laings invests in the high street as turnover and profit bounce back from pandemic years

Joe Walsh (Laings CEO)

FAMILY-owned luxury jewellers, Laings, is investing heavily in its UK high street store estate after reporting a 62% increase in turnover to £60m, in the last financial year (to May 2022).

Bucking the trend of many retailers, who have turned their back on bricks and mortar in favour of an e-commerce focused offering, the prestigious jewellery and watch retailer has committed £10m to enhancing and expanding its physical presence – creating local jobs in the process. 

The package of investment includes the recently expanded showroom in Cardiff, which has already made a significant contribution to Laings’ performance and post covid recovery and the move to new, 9,000 square foot premises in Southampton, where a £3m expansion is currently underway.

It will also see 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 iconic Rowan House building on Buchanan Street in Glasgow.

With a presence in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton and Cardiff, the family business saw revenues bounce back in the first full year of trading unaffected by lockdown restrictions in three years. 

Profits before tax also rose to £5.4m from £2.8m, supported by a 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.

Joe Walsh, CEO of Laings, said: “With no mandatory lockdowns in the last year of trading, we have seen a strong recovery in demand for luxury jewellery and watches. Along with our highly skilled workforce, our retail stores are the cornerstone of our business. They are where our clients can immerse themselves in the history and traditional expertise of our business, and that of our prestigious partners. 

“It is vital that we continue to invest for the future, making our physical assets as enticing and engaging as possible. Our online experience has also dramatically improved, helping people to make purchases more easily, when they cannot come to see us in store.”

With the ambition to create a unique, truly luxury shopping experience for clients, both in store and online, continued investment in the brand’s offering remains at the forefront of Laings’ priorities for the year ahead.

This will be delivered through a range of measures, from talent acquisition and continued staff training and development – including a focus on highly skilled roles such as watchmaking and goldsmithing – to exclusive brand collaborations, new partnerships and one-off events.

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, Laings is devoted to ensuring its people are provided with opportunities to grow and learn, which is passed on to the client through their own in store experiences.

Joe 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 could not have achieved our successes to date, nor plan for future successes, without the skill, expertise and dedication of our colleagues, who remain at the forefront of our plans to grow the business further. 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.”   

Established in 1840, Laings is now in the hands of the sixth generation of the Laing family and is one of the largest independent jewellery businesses in the UK.

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