The new Bond Street retail and leisure development in Chelmsford has increased footfall and improved business for jewellery retailers in the city.
The new shopping area opened in September last year with 17 shops and seven restaurants, all anchored by a 120,000 sq ft John Lewis department store. It is said the Bond Street development increased Chelmsford’s city centre by about a quarter, and offers a luxury section off the main high street for locals and tourists alike to explore.
While Professional Jeweller editor Stacey Hailes was in Chelmsford yesterday meeting the city’s jewellery retailers, many commented on how Bond Street had been great for business.
Pandora’s operations manager, Garth Coverdale, remarked: “The new Bond Street development will keep shoppers staying locally rather than losing them to London or large shopping centres that are also close by.”
“The investment into the town, boosting it to ‘city’ status has helped businesses attract customers who would normally focus their weekend shopping in the likes of Westfield and Oxford Street,” echoed Charles Fish store manager Cathy Mealing. “It [Bond Street] also has a less urban feel than other shopping areas and a gentler pace than high impact shopping malls.”
For Goldsmiths, the development presented an opportunity for the jewellery retailer to move into the Bond Street shopping district and open its largest show room in the UK.
The new space features a large dedicated Rolex area, as well as two other branded areas to showcase Omega and Breitling.
On the jewellery front, Mappin & Webb’s elite jewellery line and the brand’s By Appointment bespoke bridal service is available in the Chelmsford boutique, alongside the store’s exclusive collaboration with Jenny Packham.
At the moment Goldsmiths is the only jewellery retail in Chelmsford’s Bond Street.
Independent jewellery retailer, Krafft Jewellers, which is located just off the high street on the road leading to the station, has benefited from visitors travelling to the city to shop in the new John Lewis store.
“I’ve seen an increase in people coming in from out of town, and because we are near the rail station, we get the footfall of people coming down,” explained Krafft Jewellers director, Danny Stapleton. “We’ve had customers coming in asking the best place to park to come into John Lewis, so they are people who have never been to Chelmsford before. So there are definitely more people coming in.”
He concluded: “We’ve had a few people moan and say we don’t need it, but I think it is a great thing for Chelmsford. Generally it has been good for us.”
The city centre is now regenerating the shopping centre opposite Bond Street’s entrace, ‘High Chelmers’. Most recently, Next and Primark relocated into the mall and strengthened the high street’s offering.
There are also still empty units in Bond Street, which locals are hopeful will be filled by prestigious brands.