HOT 100 2013: Jon Weston, Rudells

As it reaches its landmark 75th year, Midlands stalwart Rudells is looking fresher than ever. And in its diamond age, managing director Jon Weston has ensured it presents a truly exciting luxury watch offer, while making some terrifically innovative moves that mean Rudells is leading watch retail into the digital age.

A Rolex corner and a Patek Philippe wall were installed in the Wolverhampton showroom in January. Jon says: “The impact has been very positive, sales have increased nicely and we are now looking to install a larger salon area for each of these brands at our Harborne showroom.”

His strategy is now to play increasingly to the top end. “We have been exceptionally pleased with our sales for Patek Philippe this year and we look forward to continuing this in 2013. Sadly, we do not get asked very often for watches under £300 today.”

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He adds that the lower-priced sector will still perform well for volume players but the middle sector will be tough for some years to come. “People just have less disposable income in this sector right now.”
And his premium strategy is already being borne out. “I’m happy to share with you that we had a record sales year for Rudells last year.

We achieved a double-digit percentage increase on last year, which was also a record. The only negative side is that footfall has decreased slightly and our margins are getting tighter and tighter with branded products. As the phrase goes, we are working a lot harder for the same amount of profit.”

Working harder means working more cleverly too. And Jon has introduced some truly fresh innovations, like a mobile phone app, and that’s not even his newest move. “We also have a new concept that incorporates our watch workshops. This will enable clients to actually view their timepieces being serviced via a web link through YouTube. I’m very excited about this.”

Jon’s appearance here is not his first brush with excellence and he was a top seeded badminton player until injury abbreviated his career. After defying his father’s advice to become an accountant, he took a job in the jewellery trade and decided to go to night school for five years instead. “We had such a massive row. I made him proud in the end though.”

The Retail Titans category was sponsored by Bremont.

You can see the full digital version of the Hot 100 here

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