RETAIL TITANS: Roy Welsh, Market Cross Jewellers

Roy Welsh is having a bit of a Kevin Costner moment. This year he has invested heavily in opening a Luxury Watch Room within his Middlesbrough store, and as that famous line from Field of Dreams goes, if you build it, they will come.

The new room houses shop-in-shops by Cartier, Breitling and Omega, and Welsh says the upgrade has been a roaring success. “It has convinced us that to move forward with our business we need to concentrate on creating a more luxurious environment and shopping experience in as many of our stores as possible,” says the retail boss who operates 13 stores across the north of England. “I believe that if you build the best shopping experience in your area then the customers will, indeed, come.”

Welsh describes watch retailers as “living in a time of high expectations from a customer point of view”, but this seems to be an opportunity for his business rather than a threat. Market Cross Jewellers’ Middlesbrough store has been successfully meeting these expectations for two decades, and to celebrate this the business was presented with a Special Mayor’s Award in April.

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“It was absolutely wonderful to have our efforts recognised in such a way, the whole company was very proud,” says Welsh, who we find in his garden, a place where the family business has devised many a great idea over a BBQ.

“We were overwhelmed by how many of our customers turned up to see us accept the award, it was truly heart warming. It’s moments like those that you realise that you’re not just a shop but are an integral part of the community.”

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