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Informing Business (Aug 8): Maidenhead watchmaker receives £6.25 million boost

Informing Business (Aug 8): Maidenhead watchmaker receives £6.25 million boost

Maidenhead watchmaker receives £6.25 million boost

A £6.25 million investment has been ploughed into a premium watch brand from Maidenhead.

Christopher Ward received the funding from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) which claims to be the UK’s most active investor in growing businesses.

Alongside its head office in Park Street, the watch-maker also has a workshop in Biel, Switzerland, and processes 22,000 orders per year, generating sales of £10.5million.

The multi-million pound investment from BGF will support the company’s long-term growth strategy, providing the capital and resource to expand its market presence and product lines.

Mike France, chief executive and co-founder of Christopher Ward, said: “Our raison d’etre at Christopher Ward, the reason we get out of bed every morning, is to work towards giving as many people as possible the opportunity to experience the visceral pleasure of owning a finely-crafted, hand built premium watch.

“We’ve made great progress in 14 years, establishing really solid foundations and feel the time is now right to ‘spread the Ward’ to even more people worldwide.”

Christopher Ward, founded in 2005, specialises in mechanical and quartz watches which are manufactured in Switzerland.

Its current collection includes dress, dive, aviation and motorsport watches, as well as a collaborative collection with British car marker Morgan.

The company also announced a partnership with the Ministry of Defence in May which saw it given approval to become one of five brands approved to use official UK Armed Forces insignia on watches sold to the general public.

James Austin, an investor at BGF who will join the board of Christopher Ward, added: “We’re really pleased to be joining the team at Christopher Ward, a fantastic example of great British entrepreneurialism, becoming a truly credible player in the luxury watch market over the last decade.”

Doubts over future of Slough's Tesco Extra store

Doubt has been cast over the long-term future of Tesco Extra in Slough town centre.

The supermarket in Wellington Street is one of Tesco’s largest in the South-east and is open 24 hours a day all week, except Sundays.

But a leading planning officer for Slough Borough Council told a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, July 31 that he expects the store to be redeveloped within 10 years.

Paul Stimpson, SBC’s planning policy lead officer, said: “The store was built when they (Tesco) thought they were going to be selling white goods and clothes and we think Tesco is already too big for that area.

“We think, looking at what’s happening elsewhere, that they’re redeveloping lots of their sites.

 “We can’t be sure but I would’ve thought that maybe not five years but certainly in 10 years, given the value of the site and the changing nature of shopping, they will voluntarily bring that forward.”

He added that, while he expected the Wellington Street site to be redeveloped, he hoped it would remain in the town in the short-term while regeneration continues.

A spokesman for Tesco said the company would not comment on the status of the store.

Care group makes firms to inspire list

A business that runs care homes in Maidenhead and Burnham has been named on the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain list.

The report is a celebration of the UK’s fastest growing and most dynamic small and medium sized businesses.

To be selected on the list, companies had to demonstrate positive revenue growth over the last three years and outperform their sector peers.

Hartford Care Group Ltd, which runs the Boulters Lock residential home, in Sheephouse Road, and Burnham Lodge, in Parlia-ment Lane, met these criteria.

Hartford Care Group’s chief executive Sean Gavin said: “Our inclusion for the first time in the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain Report is a significant and very welcome landmark for Hartford Care.

“This is an accolade that recognises the tireless work our exceptional teams undertake 24/7 in providing care, comfort and companionship for all our residents .”

Distribution centre lands gold health and safety gong

A Langley-based distribution centre has been recognised for its health and safety standards.

The centre, based in Hurricane Way, is used by both Dawson Media Direct and Smiths News for the distribution of newspapers and magazines to retailers across the region.

The teams picked up a gold standard award for health and safety from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents during a ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

The award recognised the efforts towards improving health and safety standards in the workplace through education and new technologies.

Phil Adams, operational director for Smiths News, said:  “It’s fantastic to have been recognised for our health and safety efforts by RoSPA for another year.

“ Fostering safe working environments for all our colleagues across the board has always been very important to us and over the years we have continually worked hard to ensure all our staff stay safe themselves but also work together to keep others safe too.”

Redrow jumps aboard rowing sponsorship

UK housebuilder Redrow is sponsoring the Maidenhead Regatta for the second year running.

The building firm’s £475 donation to Maidenhead Rowing Club will help cover the costs of the event, which has been taking place on the River Thames since 1893.

This year’s regatta is being held on Saturday and will attract some of the top rowing crews from across the country.

The course includes a 500-metre upstream row and fans are expected to line the riverbank in support.

Keith Abbott, captain at the Maidenhead Rowing Club, said: “Redrow has a strong presence in Maiden-head as a prominent builder across the region, so we are pleased they wanted to sponsor the Regatta for a second year and support a key event in the Maidenhead calendar.”

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