UPMARKET jeweller Hamilton & Inches has underlined its commitment to the Scottish High Street after growing profits and completing a multi-million pound investment in its flagship store amid the challenges posed by the fallout from the pandemic.

The latest accounts for the Edinburgh-based firm show it made a profit of £236,153 in the period ended March 27, compared with £153,885 in the preceding year.

The accounts cover a period during which retailers suffered huge disruption as a result of lockdowns that were imposed to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

However directors said they had used the turbulent period as a time to prepare the business for the future. The directors of the parent holding company include Scots fund management star Walter Scott, who is the majority shareholder.

In a statement, Hamilton & Inches’ chief executive Victoria Houghton noted that trading was impacted by two shop closures each lasting approximately three months. Turnover fell to £6.7million in the latest year, from £9.1m.

Ms Houghton noted: “ In the months the showroom was open, trading was extremely positive, particularly over the festive period and online sales have continued to grow.”

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Directors said the business had tightly controlled costs and where appropriate, utilised Government support under initiatives such as the furlough and VAT deferment schemes. They noted: “As with many other businesses this support has been invaluable to help navigate the challenges brought by the pandemic.”

In terms of preparations for the future, Ms Houghton said Hamilton & Inches had completed an operational and structural review in order to identify areas of strength and refocus its efforts.

The parent company supported a £3m transformation of the firm’s George Street property, which she said has brought a contemporary feel to the retail floor, workshops and service areas while rejuvenating the Georgian building’s heritage.

HeraldScotland: Picture: Hamilton & InchesPicture: Hamilton & Inches

Ms Houghton said the investment made over the last 12 months demonstrated commitment to the future of Hamilton & Inches and the Scottish high street.

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She added: “We are confident in our team, the business, and the luxury retail market and we feel there has never been a more important time to play a key role in driving Edinburgh’s retail recovery.”

The 155-year-old business received £448,783 Government grants in the latest financial year. The monthly average number of employees fell to 40, from 50.