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Maidstone-based Watchfinder secures £1m funding from HSBC to double its stock holding and grow sales

By Chris Price

Specialist pre-owned luxury watch retailer WatchFinder has secured a £1m funding package from HSBC to help double its stock holding.

The Maidstone-based company sells an average of 750 watches a month and is expanding its stock capacity to help keep pace with demand.

It generates sales of £23m a year online and in its London store. It aims to grow that to more than £40m over the next three years.

Maidstone-based Watchfinder has seen turnover increase 55%

The company secured the seven figure sum from HSBC’s Kent Commercial Centre, in a deal managed by senior commercial manager Matt Povey.

WatchFinder sells watches ranging from £200 to several hundred thousand pounds, with brands including Rolex, Omega, Tag, Cartier, Patek Phillippe and Breitling.

Founded as an online retailer, it opened its first bricks and mortar store in the City of London’s Royal Exchange in 2012.

The company, which employs 42 people, plans to open two more stores over the next year, with an additional London store and one in central England.

Founder and director Lloyd Amsdon said: “The finance has given WatchFinder the capacity to double its stock, widening the brands appeal and satisfying the ever growing customer database.

Watchfinder & Co's flagship store in London

“With 12,000 visitors to WatchFinder.co.uk every day, and an average of 750 watches sold a month, keeping up supply for the demand is curial to the business’ continued growth.

He added: “HSBC’s funding will also permit us to better our customer experience.

“A WatchFinder customer that shops with us both in-store and online spends double the time as he would with a single-channel shopper and as an increasing amount of retail transactions are influenced by the digital experience WatchFinder will aim to further enhance this.

Over the next few months, WatchFinder will see higher levels of engagement, increased conversion rates and most importantly higher scoring customer satisfaction levels.”

“The finance has given WatchFinder the capacity to double its stock, widening the brands appeal and satisfying the ever growing customer database..." - Watchfinder founder Lloyd Amsdon

HSBC Kent area commercial director Barry Spicer added: “WatchFinder is a fantastic business that has sold nearly £70 million worth of watches since it was founded 14 years ago.

“Much of that revenue has been generated in its recent history and the company has gone from strength-to-strength.

“This funding will give it the capacity for further growth, meeting the demands of the burgeoning pre-owned watch market.”

It comes as HSBC issued a report this week proclaiming that 2014 will mark a turning point for ambitious SMEs, as they look to capitalise on the UK economic recovery to invest in growth.

The report, Business of Growth, highlights the constant upwards revision of GDP growth over the last 12 months.

It also looks at the UK economy’s outperformance of the Eurozone and a rise of business confidence as providing the perfect conditions for growth.

The bank is making almost £6bn of new lending available to small businesses across the country.

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