STATE OF THE NATION’S TOP 10 WATCH RETAILERS. No.3: Beaverbrooks

Operating profit for Beaverbrooks is reported as the total profit before distribution of profit share, charitable donations, taxation and dividends. The charitable donations element is particularly significant to the business, which prides itself as much on its altruism, generous spirit and the welfare of its employees as it does on its profit.

That said, it is clear there was a significant improvement in the profitability of Beaverbrooks in 2014, soon after Anna Blackburn was promoted to become chief executive for the 69-store multiple.

The most recent financial year, where sales were maintained at £119 million for a second consecutive year, is likely to have been the most challenging for the business since Ms Blackburn stepped up to run Beaverbrooks with chairman Mark Adlestone.

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*2017-18 operating profit is based on an updated forecast from chairman Mark Adlestone.

 

The UK watch business was booming on the back of the post-Brexit weak pound, but the hottest areas of the market — luxury Swiss watches sold at soaring prices in tourist hotspots like London — are areas where Beaverbrooks is underweight.

Yes, it sells Breitling, TAG Heuer and Omega, all top 10 brands, but it lacks the pulling power of Rolex, Patek Philippe or even Cartier.

If the value and affordable luxury part of the watch industry continues to struggle, Beaverbrooks will need to beef up other parts of its business to compensate.

  • Mr Adlestone and Ms Blackburn recently updated WatchPro with 2017-18 trading figures, which are expected to show sales rising to over £126 million for the year ending February 2018, and operating profits improving to over £13 million.

VITAL STATISTICS

Turnover FY17: £ 119 million (+0.01%)
Operating Profit: £12.29 million (-19.2%)
Employees (Feb 2017): 916
Doors (Feb 2017): 69

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