Laing the Jeweller has reported a 42% increase in profit, breaking the £1 million barrier for the first time in the year ending Feb 28 2013.
The Edinburgh jeweller, which also owns and operates Parkhouse the Jeweller stores in Cardiff and Southampton, increased turnover by 19% with a 42% increase in pre-tax profit to £1,032,677, up on the £729,000 profit recorded the previous year.
According to Laing the Jeweller the business growth has been predominately driven by diamond jewellery sales and watch sales.
There has been continued expansion of the luxury watch business with a new purpose-built specialist watch workshop in Edinburgh following on from the opening of the Laing Watch Gallery – a standalone Omega, Longines and Chopard outlet – last year.
The retailer has also continued to investment in successful global brands with the development of a new Rolex Room in Edinburgh and new Patek Philippe, Rolex and Omega in-store developments in Southampton with further investment this year in Cartier, IWC, TAG and Breitling.
Laing the Jeweller has also expanded its team in the last 12 months, adding to its IT team and infrastructure and making its first steps into online retail.
Laing’s has invested in a flexible retail e-learning platform that uses video technology to help train staff, implementing individual development plans for staff members. The platform "has provided a more effective, measurable training system" for the company.
Changes at management level also took place this year, with the appointment of former Aurum Holdings senior manager Jonathan Payne as Laing’s managing director. Payne has more than 10 years’ industry experience with stores including Goldsmiths, Mappin and Webb, Watches of Switzerland and Holland and Barrett.
The company also hired Charlotte Farish as its new head of marketing in February, while Alan Woodrow was appointed Laing’s head of learning and development, bringing 13 years of people development expertise from within the banking sector to the company.
Michael Laing, owner and chief executive of Laing the Jeweller, said: “We are operating in challenging times from an industry and brands perspective but have delivered solid performance by focusing on improved business operations and efficiency as well as investing in our IT capabilities, employee and management training and infrastructure.
“We have concentrated on getting back to the basics of business with clear strategic goals, 60 to 90 day performance reviews and driven greater efficiency through tighter inventory control, cost management and a focus on key brands."
Laing added that greater management support, engagement and training across the business have contributed to its growth. Its three stores’ data capture is now at 83% and this will be used help to improve the stores’ marketing capabilities and targeted communication.
The company has also welcomed strong demand from Chinese shoppers and has invested in Mandarin speaking sales staff.
Laing added: “Delivering a memorable luxury experience is central to our business and requires the highest standards of quality and service across all of our operations. The new, more sophisticated operational platform is a key factor in the continued growth of our business in understanding and exceeding the expectations of the consumer.
"After the first decade of the 21st century it is very clear that what is required to succeed in retail is excellence in management and recruitment coupled with a portfolio of winning brands. We are confident that we are in an excellent position to look forward and grow Laing and Parkhouse further."
Laing the Jeweller currently employs more than 60 people across its three stores.