Independent jeweller closes stores as high street trading becomes “increasingly tough”

Family-run Townsend Fine Jewellers will close its two stores following the retirement of one of the directors, and increasingly tough conditions on the high street.

The independent jewellery retailer, which runs retail stores in Wakefield and Wetherby, will close after nearly 60 years.

Now in its fourth generation, Townsend Fine Jewellers was founded by Alan Townsend, who opened the first shop in Wakefield in 1961. Initial success meant it moved to a bigger premises in the city in 1967, and later expanded into Wetherby.

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Current managing director, Nigel Townsend, and brother, Michael Townsend, became partners in the firm, set up by their father Alan, in 1986.

The decision to close came following “tough” retail conditions, mixed with Michael Townsend’s plans to retire.

Talking to local press, Nigel Townsend remarked: “It’s been a difficult choice for us to finally call it a day on the store, and it’s certainly not been a decision we have taken lightly.

“High street trading has become increasingly tough and we have seen lots of retailers come and go. Unfortunately, now it’s our turn to shut-up shop.”

Looking ahead, Nigel Townsend plans to focus on a new business venture where he will continue to work in Wetherby at new premises, on design and manufacturing, which has increasingly grown and become the main business area for the jeweller. He work will include bespoke designs, alongside restoration, redesign, and repair.

To mark the start of the closure, each store will host an extensive closing down sale, and the business is calling on clients, new and old, to come in a share memories.

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