Jeweller axes all 14 stores in move that leaves staff ‘shocked’

Fashion jewellery retailer Pia has closed all of its shops to focus on online and mail order activity.

Starting in the first week of December, Pia Jewellery, which used to trade in high streets and shopping centres around the UK, has now closed all 14 of its boutiques.

According to local newspapers, this decision came as a shock to staff, who were left unexpectedly unemployed before Christmas Day.

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Pia Jewellery’s Chichester manager told Chichester Observer she knew of no plans to close the store, while an employee of the Marlborough boutique told the Wiltshire Gazette: “We are all still shock and surprised. Our customers are pretty gutted too.” These newspapers also commented that the jeweller was loved by locals and will be missed.

A statement on Pia Jewellery’s website says the company has decided to focus on its online and mail order activity, and as a result has closed its stores.

However, local newspapers who have contacted the jeweller have reported its managing director saying high rental costs alongside challenging operating costs for retail shops in general were factors in the decision.

Pia Jewellery managing director, John Beale, told the Leamington Courier: “We just weren’t making the sales. We have been on the high street for about 10 to 12 years and it’s an end of an era.”

Professional Jeweller has contacted Pia Jewellery, but has so far not received a comment.

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One Comment;

  1. Ian Middleton said:

    Doesn’t surprise me in the least. A cursory look at their company accounts shows a very slim profit margin which I think was driven by them selling on the high street at the same price as in their catalogues. Not really something that’s sustainable.

    As one of our major competitors I could never really understand how they could keep going in physical retail on that basis, especially considering the number of stores they had and the locations they were in.

    We closed all our stores in 2014 for very similar reasons. High rents and falling footfall which led to an unsustainable situation, coupled with the rise of branded stores strangling the market for anything different.

    I wonder though how they’ve managed to simply shutter all their stores and walk away whilst continuing to trade online. Unless the physical retail side and the catalogues are held in different company names. For our part we organised a controlled shut down and sale of stores which ensured suppliers, staff and landlords all got paid in the end.

    Very sad for their staff to lose their jobs out of the blue like that at such a key time of the year. But I assume with the December rent quarter looming it was a trigger point.

    It’ll be interesting to see if they continue to survive online.

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