Independent retailer Brufords of Exeter to close

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Increased rent prices have forced the 115-year-old business to shut.

Independent jewellery retailer Brufords of Exeter is to close down after 115 years of trading.

The company owners have decided to close the store due to a planned £7million refurbishment of the Guildhall shopping centre, which threatens to increase rent prices. Relocating has also been ruled out because of cost concerns.

Managing director, Jeremy Astley-Sparke, who has been working with Brufords for 27 years, told the Exeter Express and Echo: “We carefully considered a number of options for Brufords to remain in Exeter city centre but unfortunately the rents for the sites where we would need to be located were too high for our business."

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“The costs alone of refurbishment or completely fitting out a retail jewellery business are much higher than for most retailers. These factors alongside the challenging economic climate mean that as an independent business we would not be able to survive. Our only option sadly is to close the business,” he added.

Brufords was originally established in Eastbourne in 1884 by William Bruford. A second shop was opened in Exeter 15 years later and eventually moved to its Guildhall Shopping Centre location in 2000.

It had built up a reputation in the local area for excellent customer service, distinctive fine jewellery, silverware and prestigious watches.

Speaking of the 10 members of staff who will now be out of work, Astley-Sparke admitted: “Many have worked for us for most of their careers and have a wealth of knowledge of the jewellery business. Over the years they have built long standing, trusting relationships with customers.”

“As a traditional business our team took much pride in delivering great products and exceptional customer service and we feel sad to be another independent retailer closing in Exeter.”

The store is now preparing for a £2m clearance sale, to start on Saturday March 22 and run until Saturday April 26.

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