Jewellery retailers in England are feeling positive after their first week trading post-lockdown.
Speaking exclusively to Professional Jeweller, independents and multiples revealed that while customers did not come back in masses, many loyal clients returned within the first week and shoppers fully supported changes made in line with government guidelines.
“We are very fortunate to have a loyal customer base who have been keen to book an appointment so our first few days of trading have been very successful,” reveals Anja Potze of Anja Potze Fine Jewellery.
“I am pleased to say that the first three-four days have been nice and busy and that people have been pleased to see us back up and open,” echoes Ashley Pugh, managing director of W.Bruford in Eastbourne. He adds: “Obviously there has been an element of pent up demand with batteries, straps etc but there have also been a lot of customers who have been waiting to buy belated presents and treats.”
For many independent jewellers, demand in the first week back has been high than anticipated.
For Fabulous in Leamington Spa, the store has been busier than the owner had fexpected, while T A Henn in Wolverhampton has seen stock shift, which has been dormant in the store for years.
Jo Stroud, owner, Fabulous Jewellers, shares: “The first week has been pretty quiet, but actually busier than I had forecast. I set a very conservative forecast for this first week, and we’ve taken three times as much. We’ve sold things every day, which is an encouraging start.”
“The first few days have surprised us, with trade better than expected,” adds John Henn of T A Henn. “We have even said goodbye to an old friend we have had in stock for 15 years and two house visits after hours both resulted in sales, so far so good.”
Elsewhere, Jeremy France Jewellers in Winchester planned to break even each day but beat this target, Forum in Dorset has had a steady flow of customers throughout the first week, and Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery has been welcoming back loyal clients.
Many revealed that even when customers have been in stores, government guidelines have left staff busier than ever.
Harriet France, managing director, Jeremy France Jewellers, shares: “We’ve been busy busy busy. If it’s not customers its cleaning and catching up.”
For the Watches of Switzerland Group, both staff and customers have been positive returning to the high street.
UK executive director, Craig Bolton, tells Professional Jeweller: “It’s been very positive. Stores look great and our PPE / COVID set up has been very well received. I think we have a good balance between safety and security for our team and clients without being too intrusive. Teams are highly motivated to return to their stores and have done a fantastic job getting our stores prepared to receive clients.
“The clients themselves have really embraced our appointment system, have been very understanding of the measures we are taking and in the whole are enjoying the experience. Traffic has been significantly down as expected but our conversion has compensated for this. Things will improve once majority of retailers are open again.”