New George St store is jewel in crown for Laing

Richard (left) and Michael Laing with the plans for their new premises. Picture Greg Macvean
Richard (left) and Michael Laing with the plans for their new premises. Picture Greg Macvean
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A PRESTIGIOUS jeweller is preparing to move its ­flagship store to one of the Capital’s most exclusive shopping streets.

The main Laing Edinburgh showroom on Frederick Street will move around the corner to the former Barclays Bank branch on George Street following a £1.3 million refit.

The announcement was made just months after the luxury diamond shop was ­targeted in a terrifying armed robbery by a masked raider with a machine gun.

Michael Laing OBE, the chairman of Laing Edinburgh, described the move to George Street as the realisation of a “lifelong dream”.

He said the family run firm, which is this year marking its 175th anniversary, was also considering further expansion projects.

“This property is the perfect setting for us,” he said. “We have been looking for the right location for Laing on George Street for many years now, but suitable properties don’t often come onto the market.

“Most of the Georgian buildings have narrow shop fronts, while we needed a property with more presence, greater window space to display our luxury brands and diamond collections and give our customers more opportunity to browse.”

Laing’s Watch Gallery – which is just a few doors down from the main diamond store on Frederick Street – will remain in its current premises.

Mr Laing, whose son Richard is the sixth generation to be involved in the company, added: “We are opening a luxury store in a key location that will appeal to both international visitors and local customers, reinforcing Edinburgh’s reputation as a leading shopping destination.

“We are making a significant investment in the new store and our collections.”

The firm commissioned Eric Young and Co to secure the property deal, while designers Skakel and Skakel are working on a “sumptuous” interior.

The two-storey storeroom will be linked by a cast iron and glass staircase, while the Laing design and repair workshops will also be accommodated.

Work will begin on the extensive renovation in August, and Mr Laing has vowed to bring back “some of the “Georgian grandeur” to the World Heritage Site.

“Our foundations are based on our history and generations of expertise,” he added. “However, we’re a business that continually looks forward, we have a dynamic and innovative culture and our new store better reflects where we want to be.”

He previously told the News that his team had been “overwhelmed” by support in the wake of the armed robbery, which took place on March 2.

Matthew Ferry, 24, was handed a 13-year prison sentence last month for threatening staff members with an imitation pistol and stealing 27 watches worth almost a quarter of a million pounds.

When police raided the home he shared with his grandmother in Chesser, they found a machine gun and ammunition under a coffee table – as well as heroin worth £50,000. Mr Laing said the team had “heightened protocols” in the stores since the incident.