Weaker pound provides a lift for UK jewellery sales

Italian jewellery house Bulgari has reopened its New Bond Street boutique following a luxurious redesign. The stylish new marble-clad emporium has been designed by architect Peter Marino, who recently renovated the brand’s flagship store in Rome. The two-storey London flagship takes inspiration from Bulgari’s heritage, featuring ancient marble, a grand entrance and the brand’s signature eight-point Condotti star. The boutique also offers a range of intimate areas including ladies jewellery and watch areas, a male area, VIP area and accessories area. Each of these special sections echo a unique atmosphere.

Jewellery and watch retailers enjoyed a 17% spike in sales in July, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

Across all retail, sales grew by 5.9%, compared to July 2015, and have increased by 1.4% since June.

Warmer weather coupled with a surge in tourists taking advantage of the weak pound to visit and shop in Britain, have been credited as significant drivers of the sales surge.

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“Better weather this year could be a major factor, with sales of clothing and footwear doing particularly well,” said Joe Grice of the ONS.

There is anecdotal evidence suggesting the weaker pound encouraged overseas visitors to spend, he added.

Luxury jewellery is particularly attractive in the UK right now as retail prices have not been adjusted by the major brands in the wake of the post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound.

Phil Mullis, partner and head of retail and wholesale at top-20 UK accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy LLP, commented: “July was the first full month since the Brexit vote was announced and there was certainly an anxious wait to see how this would affect the overall landscape.

“However, it looks as though the UK has enjoyed a post-Brexit spending splurge as the good weather has resulted in a spike of sales, particularly for fashion retailers. Prices continue on a downward path, so the volume increases just show that there were some real bargains to be had this summer.

“Eventually, the weaker pound will catch up as retailers run their existing stocks at a low level and replenishing them could lead to increased costs. Whether the customer bears this, or the supplier, retailers should be adapting their forecasts to address the falling currency value and maybe relocating their supply chains so that they are here in Blighty. This will save on costs and reduce reliance on imports – so it will be interesting to see if more business could be done on home soil.”

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