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HOT 100 Retail Titans: Glyn Smoothy, MD, Watts1858


There has been lots of talk about retail finally coming out the other side of the recession, and for Glyn Smoothy this is definitely true. This year his business has celebrated a return to pre-recession profit levels, but rather than just sitting and waiting for the return of the good times, Smoothly has worked hard to win those numbers back.

As you may have guessed by his photograph, Smoothly is a pretty determined guy, and when things looked like they were starting to dip, he took action. As well as what Smoothly describes as a “continual refurbishment”, he made the bold decision to rebrand the business from W.E. Watts, a name the Derby store had carried since 1858, to a more modern, but historically respectful, Watts1858.

And within this revamped store, Smoothly has been focusing on creating just the right product mix to entice recession-battered shoppers to start parting with their money again. “We’ve been guiding the business back to pre-recession levels of profitability by offering unique and niche products to our clients,” says Smoothly, referring to a selection of timepieces from brands including Bremont, Montblanc and Omega, as well as pre-owned watches.


This Thai-boxing, dog-walking, proud dad-of-two has certainly been making a lot of brave business decisions of late, and he credits joining the Houlden Group with giving him the confidence to do so. “It has inspired us to keep changing and to try new ideas without fear of failing,” he says.

With the radical changes now complete, Smoothly says the strategy going forward is centred on building on this solid new foundation. With the books, fascia and product offering all now in tip-top condition, it will be exciting to see just how high this revamped business will fly.

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