Mary Portas rates H Samuel experience 3/10

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Shopping guru confused by “tacky messaging” of high street jeweller.

Last weekend Mary Portas reviewed high street jeweller H Samuel, as part of her weekly Shop! feature in The Telegraph magazine. She rated the store she visited in Manchester only 3/10, describing is as good for value-conscious customers but with “tacky messaging and a lack of quality”.

Left confused by the window displays, despairing at the carpet and jumble of products in-store Portas was left fuming while she waited to be served.

Eventually, after a staff member had been fumbling about trying to lock a cabinet, he told Portas that if she wanted to look at a necklace – she said she was looking for something special for her teenage daughter – she should go outside as all of the necklaces are in the window. She says she never went back in.

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Portas delivered her verdict on H Samuel as a “a pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap retailer”. Though she recognises she is probably not H Samuel’s target market, she does question whether H Samuel is a brand Britain is proud of. She says it certainly could be, as the cornerstone of the high street, but what is needed is “expert, passionate service”.

Portas recommends that H Samuel update itself to “offer a range that is fashionable for the youth market and of a quality that appeals to the not so young”, with good presentation and prices to suit all budgets.

H Samuel, owned by Signet Group, has recently outperformed its Signet stablemate Ernest Jones, with a 1.9% increase in sales in the last quarter. Signet is planning to close five H Samuel stores and one Ernest Jones shop between now and January 28, with no openings planned.

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