Scots jewellery firm to strengthen its UK presence

Family-run Scots jewellers Laings has unveiled its vision for the future, with ambitious new plans to strengthen its presence across the United Kingdom.

After celebrating 180 years of trading in 2020, Laings is now looking ahead to build on its legacy as a leading destination for luxury jewellery and watches with extensive expansion plans set to be unveiled, aimed at enhancing the client experience across its key locations.

Through six generations of family ownership, Laings has grown to become a leading independent luxury jeweller, with six showrooms across four locations – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton and Cardiff. Laings offers a curated selection of fine jewellery and watches from some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Rolex and Patek Philippe, as well as bespoke design and repair services by the in-house team of master watchmakers, goldsmiths and jewellery designers.

Now, expanding its retail strategy while staying true to the heritage of the business, the jewellers has announced it will be investing £10 million into the company over the next two years. The investment will see Laings transform its showrooms and workshops, reimagining the customer experience while ensuring traditional jewellers’ crafts are kept alive for generations to come.

The first in a series of transformations will be unveiled this autumn with work already underway to treble the size of Laings’ St David’s Centre Cardiff showroom, allowing the company to introduce Swiss watch brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe to its Welsh clientele. An investment which demonstrates the trust Laings holds with luxury horology’s most prominent brands, who have existing relationships with Laings having worked together for years in other cities.

Stuart McDowell, retail director at Laings, says: ‘The expansion in Cardiff is in response to our clients’ enquiries – catering to the watch collectors of Wales who might not have Laings at the forefront of their minds now, but hopefully they soon will. The showroom is right in the heart of the capital city and our expanded presence means we can give the brands we represent the stage to shine. No longer will Cardiff clients need to travel outside their home city to access these brands, they can enjoy having them on their doorstep – with Laings.’

Laings is also revolutionising the way its Welsh customers experience diamonds and jewellery with the introduction of private viewings. The expanded showroom is set to include dedicated diamond and jewellery areas so that clients can view the carefully curated collections in private, with a glass of champagne served by Laings’ refreshments partner Lanson. Despite the changes, clients can expect the same warmth, expertise and attention that they have become accustomed to at Laings.

Laings’ workshops in Scotland will also see significant investment, marking the beginning of a new client experience. For the first time in the company’s history, clients will be invited to join the watchmakers and goldsmiths behind the benches to see their skills in action when completing services, drawing back the curtain on the artisan crafts and allowing the team to take centre stage.

Upon opening, the workshops will play host to client immersion sessions, luxury events and meet the makers demonstrations to showcase expertise, allowing clients to see the intricacies of every service first-hand.

Laings also hopes that breathing new life into the workshops will attract visibility to the industry and inspire a new generation of talent to train in the field. With a recruitment plan spanning all areas of the business, Laings aims to grow its team by up to 25 per cent, providing opportunities for both apprentices and existing watchmakers and goldsmiths in locations where there have traditionally been less positions available, safeguarding these artisan skills for the future.

Laings CEO Joe Walsh added: ‘The workshops create a special experience for our customers. Not only will they be able to talk to the watchmakers and see them working, they’ll also be able to attend events where they can gain a deeper insight into the craft – taking watches apart, seeing how the mechanics work and putting them back together. People are looking for experiences now and that’s what we want – to deliver a new form of retail that captures the imagination of our clients.’

These developments signal the start of a longer-term growth plan for Laings. Over the next 24 months, the company will embark on a journey of evolution to challenge jewellery and watchmaking retail experiences – bringing innovation to every area of the business, while never forgetting the deep-rooted heritage that anchors the Laings story.

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