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HOT 100 RETAIL TITANS: Jamie Brown, Mark Canning, Scott Lucas & Rowland Jones – First Class Watches

Having opened a jewellery store, James Moore Jewellers, in Kenilworth at the age of 21, Jamie Brown had the foresight to realise that the internet was about to change the retail landscape forever.

Five years later, he relocated into a larger store in a more prominent position, embraced multi-channel retailing, and First Class Watches was born in the summer of 2004. “I have not looked back since, and the business has gone from strength to strength,” he says with pride.

A calculated risk-taker, Brown has instigated plenty of initiatives over the past 12 months – including the launch of the company’s first-ever TV advert in the lead-up to Christmas, with over 120 slots across popular Sky channels.

“It was really exciting to work with the various agencies producing our TV advert and to see the whole project come together successfully on screen. The advert also led to our best-ever performance over the 2015 seasonal period,” says e-commerce manager Scott Lucas.

First Class Watches holds an impressive and ever-expanding portfolio of 86 brands, with 15 taken on in the past year alone, including 88 Rue du Rhône, Gc and Maurice Lacroix.

“So far this year I’ve been really focused on getting new Swiss and fitness brands on board and presented well across all of our channels, which has contributed to a 30% year-to-date growth,” says Scott, whose interest in the technology industry inspired him to build the company’s e-commerce arm and modernise retail operations.

When it comes to the future of the business, the management team never rests on its laurels. “I’ve learned that to achieve more you need to work hard and be persistent, and for us this means continuing to explore niches within the industry that may previously have been left untapped,” says general manager Mark Canning.

Social media manager Rowland Jones will be looking to propel the company’s social media engagement to the next level through competitions, posts and media. “I’ve always found that video engages customers really well and I would be thrilled to bring more video content to First Class Watches,” he affirms.

Meanwhile, for Jamie, the focus is on growing his business through further brand acquisitions and marketing. “I want First Class Watches to become a household name!” he asserts.

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