Succession planning for long established Sussex family business

Published by Sarah Ediss on 1 December 2023

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Now run by the fourth generation, Wakefields Jewellers has recently transformed its Horsham retail presence and has ambitions to expand further, as the owners also think ahead and plans for the future.

With over 100 years trading in Horsham, Wakefields Jewellers is now run by brother and sister Dominic and Melanie Wakefield. Jewellery retailing is certainly in their blood, and they took over the business from their father Graham in 1996 when he retired. Long standing clients of Kreston Reeves, we spoke to Dominic to find out about the latest developments in the business.

“The fine jewellery industry has more family-run businesses than in any other sectors. With each generation Wakefields has adapted to meet the needs of our customers, for who we understand that purchasing jewellery is an emotional and enjoyable experience.”

“Over the years we have continued to evolve the business with brand partnerships, including having bought and sold four successful Pandora stores and becoming an Official Rolex Retailer. Change has never fazed us.”

“Establishing the Rolex brand in Horsham and being recognised as the only authorised dealer in West Sussex has given us a huge customer base. We welcome customers from Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London to visit our showroom. It has become a destination store, a place where people spend time, and it attracts a clientele who enjoy the luxury service and attention to detail.”

“The latest refurbishment of the shop was an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves again and to elevate the business. This journey has developed further with the recent investment in an on-site Rolex workshop, earning us the status as an official Rolex watch servicing centre. We are constantly looking one step ahead and this recent achievement means that we are already looking at where we can further expand and add extra space to continue to grow. By combining our luxury showroom and devotion to delivering excellent customer service, we ensure that our customers always have a fantastic experience when they visit us.”

“Installing a luxury bar in the showroom was possibly the best decision we ever made in helping to create this experience. Every customer is welcomed with a drink of their choice by our full-time concierge, who then helps to ensure they meet with the right member of staff depending on what they are looking for.”

“There is no pressure, just a drink and a chance to sit down and relax in beautiful surroundings. It creates a unique retail experience for our customers that they cannot compare with online shopping.”

Recent economic events have made it harder for businesses to plan however Wakefields have been thinking about their future.

“I like to plan about five to seven years ahead for the business and we are already thinking about planning for the future and succession in the business, which Kreston Reeves has helped us with. “

The accounts and tax teams at Kreston Reeves have been supporting Wakefield Jewellers Limited for multiple generations. Partner Sarah Ediss comments: “It is important to ensure decisions about the company structure, investment and expenditure make sense for the business both in relation to the immediate tax position but future capital gains tax and inheritance tax. When we advise we need to take into account the family’s plans for future generations to take the business forward. We are able to support the Directors whilst they make some of these decisions.”

The Wakefields are confident that Horsham is the right town for them to be located in for future success.

“Horsham is thriving and when I go to visit other jewellery retailers, I often go to towns and cities where there are a lot of empty units. Horsham doesn’t feel like that, it’s really bustling and we have several new retailers in the town. The influx of new shops creates a crescendo effect and other retailers want to follow.”

“We have the right balance of retailers for attracting people to the town, including national brands and many small, independent retailers. Horsham is continually being redeveloped and improved and future plans look good for the town. It also benefits from new housing which of course brings in more people and high footfall in the town centre is good. It’s still a commuter town at heart but increasingly our customers travel a considerable distance to visit us.”

To learn more about how we continue to support Wakefields, and the range of services we can provide to help your organisation, please contact us today.

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