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RETAIL TITANS: Joe walsh, managing director, Laings

Wendy Laing and Joe Walsh_Laings of Glasgow

Scotland’s esteemed jewellery retailer Laings has been under the ownership of a single family since 1840, but for almost 12 years, brothers Stuart and Michael Laing split the company in two and ran them from competing offices in the city of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

That was until Joe Walsh, husband of Stuart’s daughter Wendy and now managing director of Laings, put the pieces back together again in the fourth quarter of 2017 after buying out Michael, who has now retired.

The result is the second coming of a 178-year-old business with ambitious plans to grow into a powerful nationwide multiple.

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The enlarged group makes Laings one of the largest independent jewellery and watch businesses in the UK, with all six stores now operating under the same brand name.

The rebranding was no small task, but the outcome has been positive, with staff and customers warmly embracing the change.

The first accounts as a reunified company reflect this too, with all the stores experiencing growth during the 2018 financial year.

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, however, says the turnover would be over £35 million if adjusted to a full year for all parts of the business.

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Stacey Hailes

The author Stacey Hailes

Editor, Professional Jeweller

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