Jewellers and other non-essential retailers were permitted to reopen in England and Wales on Monday (12 April) after the longest period of lockdown yet.
But how was trading on that very first day back, and how do jewellers anticipate sales and footfall being in the coming weeks?
Anja Potze Fine Jewellery’s marketing manager, Felicity Regent, and Forum Jewellers director, Helen Molloy, have their say.
PJ: Did you open on day one (12 April)?
Helen Molloy, director, Forum Jewellers: Yes, we couldn’t wait to reopen. We’re delighted to be back open and felt so welcomed by the customers.
Felicity Regent, marketing manager, Anja Potze Fine Jewellery: Yes! We couldn’t wait to open our doors and welcome our customers back. It’s been a long time coming; without our customers we don’t have a business and it’s wonderful to be able to serve them again.
How was day one in terms of footfall and sales?
HM: We had a constant footfall all day. Initial customers were [there for] watch batteries and repairs but then we had a couple of nice diamond ring sales and people spending gift vouchers.
FR: We had a productive day with a few sales, and expect footfall and sales to increase as we head towards the weekend.
Was it a difficult or long process preparing the shop and making it safe?
HM: No, as we were able to review and adjust everything that we put in place last year. We have taken advantage of Covid-19 testing for the staff twice weekly, so just spent 30 minutes having a quick session on this.
FR: Not particularly as we had all the safety measures in place from Christmas: perspex screens, hand sanitiser and signage. We have spent time redecorating and refurbishing, giving the shop a facelift ready for the reopening.
How do you anticipate the coming several weeks in terms of footfall?
HM: I’m confident there is a pent up demand and we have a loyal customer base so I anticipate business as normal if not better.
FR: We expect the first week to be very busy, especially with engagement rings and wedding bands, and then to remain steady for several weeks. We’re certainly very hopeful!
Is there anything brands can do to help ease the process?
HM: The brands that have kept in touch with us during lockdown and those that have worked with us to replace old stock with new, provide marketing support and staff initiatives are the brands that we will work with in the future.
FR: We’re lucky to have great support from our branded suppliers but providing assets for marketing purposes is always very helpful.
Has the government given enough support?
HM: We cant fault the support we’ve received, with local grants and furlough helping us immensely.
FR: In the face of exceptional circumstances, I feel the government did provide a lot of support. The furlough scheme was significant for employee retention and the grants certainly helped to keep businesses afloat, although they were not proportionate to turnover, so more helpful to some businesses than others.