Turnover at Stratford-upon-Avon’s iconic jeweller George Pragnell has doubled in the six years since current managing director Charlie Pragnell took over control of the family business from his father, but the number of units sold across jewellery and watches has barely changed in 30 years.
Mr Pragnell became managing director of the business in 2010, but says that the hand-over from his father Jeremy took two years.
Turnover in 2012 was £17 million and operating profit of £1.7 million. Five years later sales in 2017 more than doubled to £36.8 million with operating profit of £4 million.
Stock held by George Pragnell Ltd has risen in value from £12.4 million in 2012 to £22.6 million last year.
George Pragnell now owns Tarratt Jewellers in Leicester and Rugby, a business that also stocks Patek Philippe and Rolex. It also opened a showroom in London’s Mayfair last year, around the corner from a town house on Berkeley Square, that is used for private consultations with VIP clients.
“We’re still a small family business; we really are,” Mr Pragnell insists in an interview with WatchPro that will be published in June. “We sell fewer units than the financial figures might suggest, which enables us to retain personal service. That’s a constant challenge, but I think we probably sell fewer units today than we did 30 years ago,” he adds.
An obsession with continually improving service is the key to retaining loyal customers who come back to spend more over time. “The constant battle is to provide increasingly good service, increasingly personal service, increasingly conscientious service. That is hugely influential over the reputation of the business, and hopefully the continued development of the business. We have to be relentless and uncompromising in our standards,” Mr Pragnell describes.