INTERVIEW: Chisholm Hunter dominates Glasgow’s jewellery scene and continues to capitalise on sector’s strength

As Chisholm Hunter dominates the Argyll Arcade with six boutiques and another on the way, Professional Jeweller editor, Stacey Hailes, catches up with managing director, Harry Brown, to find out why Glasgow is such a special city for the national jewellery business…

How has business been in Glasgow so far this year?
Business in Glasgow is always strong for us. It is our city of origin therefore our client base here is accustomed to the luxury service that our teams provide. We’ve been in the city for over 160 years.

What’s great about doing business in Glasgow?
Glasgow has a huge disposable income. I think in 2017 it was ranked second with regards to retail spend potential behind only London. When you take this huge disposal income in to account and contrast it with the fact living expenses in Glasgow are far less than London, you can see why the city is thriving for retail.

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What are some of the challenges you face?
We’ve been around since 1857 with many generations shopping at Chisholm Hunter. The challenge is to keep reinventing ourselves by continuing to train and develop our people to maintain our excellent levels of customer service as years continue to go by.

What’s your USP as a jeweller in the city?
It’s hard to single out one USP in Chisholm Hunter. However, when you make reference to Glasgow in particular, we have six stores within the Argyll Arcade, each of which in a sense are autonomous department. We then have boutiques in The Glasgow Fort, and Silverburn which are both 15 minute drives on the motorway. With all this said we believe we have covered all corner stones of jewellery retailing in Glasgow. Furthermore, we are in a unique position that with the number of boutiques we have in the Argyll Arcade we could offer certain prestige watch brand a full monobrand presence which has been a unique proposition and something we have been proactively discussing.

Do you have any new plans for Chisholm Hunter in Glasgow?
This year we are investing in a refit to one of our current boutiques in the Argyll Arcade which will be fitted with some stunning new prestige watch brands such as Blancpain, Glashütte Original, and Breguet. Also we will have a luxury bar in a similar vein to our upstairs in Princes Street. Next year we will be opening a new store in Buchanan Street, which is next to the entrance of the Argyll Arcade. This is very exciting as it is the only store in the Arcade with an entrance on to Glasgow’s most expensive and exclusive street. This enables us to host luxury events for our customers and not to be restricted to the conventional opening hours of the Arcade. I have heard that rent costs in Buchanan Street have soared in the past years which is encouraging as it shows how healthy and dynamic the market in Glasgow is.

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