Source: Images and content by Rob Corder @ WatchPro. See the original article here - https://www.watchpro.com/laings-leaves-argyll-arcade-to-open-glasgows-biggest-multibrand-showroom/
Laings is opening a brand new flagship showroom in Rowan House on Buchanan Street, a landmark listed building that currently houses the jeweller’s corporate office.
Laings said last year it would be investing £10 million into elevating and expanding five multibrand showrooms in four cities.
The company has signed a 15 year lease on the five-storey building on Buchanan Street, a few doors up the pedestrianised shopping thoroughfare from Argyll Arcade where Laings currently has three stores including its current flagship multibrand anchored by Rolex and Patek Philippe.
All three units in the historic jewellery and watches shopping arcade are available for new tenants.
Taking over the whole building will allow Laings to concentrate operations under one roof with retail on the ground and first floors while the remainder of the space will house workshops, office staff and a hospitality suite.
In all, the building has 34,468 square feet of usable space and Laings says it is investing £5 million to transform it.
“Last year, we announced our multi-layer expansion plan to transform our showrooms and workshops across the UK, re-imagining the customer experience while ensuring traditional jewellers’ crafts are kept alive for generations to come,” says Stuart McDowell, managing director of Laings.
“The centre piece of this investment plan is our new flagship showroom in Glasgow, where we’ll be bringing Laings to the forefront while creating unique, immersive experiences for our clients. With negotiations to secure Rowan House now complete, and a 15-year lease agreed, we’re excited to be able to announce our plans to deliver a new retail format that captures the imagination of our clients and further enhance the luxury shopping experience in Glasgow.”
The new two-storey showroom will not open until later this year, and all of the watch brands sold in Laings’ Argyll Arcade stores will move into their new home including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, Longines, TAG Heuer, IWC, Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Breitling alongside fine jewellery and diamonds.
The basement, third and fourth floors will provide office space, with an enhanced hospitality area on the fifth floor, while the second floor will host a brand-new workshop with a glass front so customers can see their watches and jewellery being worked on by highly skilled artisans.
Moving out of the Argyll Arcade is an historically significant moment for Laings, which has been trading there since 1840.
“The Argyll Arcade has been an important part of our story and we’re committed to ensuring the success of the arcade continues. Our three Glasgow showrooms have been invaluable as we’ve built our offering and presence in the city, but as we get ready for this next chapter, we’re open to inquiries about our existing retail units in the arcade,” says Laings CEO, Joe Walsh.
“As we continue to innovate with our jewellery and watchmaking retail experiences, we’re looking to bring innovation to every area of the business, while never forgetting the deep-rooted heritage of Laings,” he concludes.
Sales of luxury watches have boomed since the first covid lock down in the second quarter of 2020.
In the most recent accounts, Laings UK Holdings reported sales of £37 million for the financial year ending May 31, 2021, still below its record turnover of £42.4 million in 2018/19, but up 6% on 2019/20, which was affected by the first UK-wide lock down.
Operating profit for the most recent financial year was also a healthy £3.2 million, double the prior year.
On top of normal trading, Laings operating income over the two years of the pandemic was boosted by £1.5 million, “primarily representing covid-related government grant funding and furlough payments,” the company reports.