Laings has published its first accounts as a reunified company after Laing The Jeweller (Glasgow) Limited acquired Laing the Jeweller Limited and Parkhouse The Jeweller Limited in September 2017.
Turnover for the year ended May 31, 2018, was £29.94 million. This includes a full twelve months of sales from what was Laing The Jeweller (Glasgow) Ltd, but only 9 months from Laing the Jeweller Limited and Parkhouse The Jeweller.
Joe Walsh, managing director for the group, told our sister publication WatchPro that turnover would be over £35 million if adjusted to a full year for all parts of the business.
The enlarged group has seven stores in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Southampton, all now operating under the same Laings name and employing 130 people.
Operating profit was £3.2 million, before debt repayments in the year of £763,000 relating in part to a loan of £13.9 million raised for financing the acquisition in 2017 and related costs, according to Mr Walsh.
All stores saw sales grow in the 2018 financial year, commentary by Mr Walsh accompanying the accounts says. “However, margins were suppressed overall as they were distorted by lower margins obtained on a number of specialised watches sold,” he adds. A small number of ultra-high-end Patek Philippe watches, which generate considerably lower margins for retailers than mainstream pieces, were sufficient to produce unusual swings in margins, Mr Walsh clarified to WatchPro.
Scotland’s venerable jeweller Laings has been under the ownership of a single family since 1840, but for almost 12 years, from 2005 to 2017, brothers Stuart and Michael Laing split the company in two and ran them from competing offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Joe Walsh, husband of Stuart’s daughter Wendy and now managing director of Laings, put the pieces back together again in 2017 after buying out Michael as he retired. The result is the second coming of a 178-year-old, £35 million business with ambitious plans to grow into a powerful nationwide multiple.