EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH: UK’s family-owned watch retail groups grow faster than the biggest multiples


WatchPro has been crunching numbers again and discovered that the top 10 retail groups in the UK are growing less quickly than the 10 that follow them in the top 20.

The major chains owned by Aurum Holdings and Signet Jewelers dominate the UK in terms of total turnover, but family-owned multiples including Berry’s, Laings, George Pragnell and David M Robinson are holding their own in what is one of the most competitive markets in the world.

There are a few gaps in the overall picture of retailers 10-20 in the league table because some were too small to publish full accounts in our starting year for analysis of 2011-12. Others have not yet published their 2016-17 numbers. However, the analysis does make for fascinating reading.




The most comprehensive data we have are for 2012-13 through to 2015-16, where we see the 10 retail groups increase their collective turnover from £158.2 million to £206.9 million.

George Pragnell has added the greatest turnover, from £17.4 million in 2011-12 to £36.7 million in 2016-17. This is before the opening of its new boutique in the heart of London’s Mayfair in 2017.

Davane Holding Company Ltd, which trades as Prestons, and David Christopher have grown turnover at the fastest rate. David Christopher increased sales in 2011-12 sales of £5.1 million  to £17 million in 2015-16 (the year before Brexit).

Davane Holding Company Ltd (Prestons) had sales of just £5.2 million in 2011-12. This has risen to £18.8 million in 2016-17 (the post-Brexit year).

Laings, the recently re-constituted businesses of Laing the Jeweller, Laings of Glasgow and Parkhouse the Jeweller, had a combined turnover of £27.9 million in 2015-16. This is the only year for which we could calculate sales for the whole group. Expect that figure to top £30 million when the first post-merger accounts are published.

In 2015-16, the most recent year for which the entire top 20 have published that accounts, collective turnover was a mighty £1.79 million. The top 10 accounted for £1.58 million and the following 10 totalled £206.9 million.




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