For Ashley Pugh, the past year has been demanding to say the least. Having been faced with the closure of the Pandora shop-in-shop in his multi-brand Inspired by Brufords store in March 2015, he could see that a complete rethink was necessary for survival.
“The original store was very much about branded jewellery and we knew pulling Pandora out was going to be a challenge,” he says, “but we set about transitioning the business by introducing diamond and bridal products, along with higher-end watches. This has enabled us to reposition the business and look to the future positively.”
The evolution of the business also paves the way for expansion, and a forthcoming redevelopment of the shopping centre in which the Inspired by Brufords store is based could not have been better timed.
“Having been in Eastbourne for over 130 years we are pretty much part of the fabric of the town, but we realised seven years ago that our main store on Cornfield Road was never going to be able to offer everything a modern-day shopper is looking for, hence the reason for opening Inspired by Brufords in the Arndale Centre,” Ashley says. “The repositioning of Inspired will now allow us to move to a larger store in two years’ time, raising our profile and attracting a new audience.”
The yearly W Bruford watch event has also gone from strength to strength since it began more than 10 years ago, and a recent move to re-launch pre-owned and antique watches and jewellery in the main store has led to a significant increase in turnover.
“I think the reintroduction of pre-owned will see the biggest impact on our business this year. It seems there is healthy demand out there for the product, and the look and style of the store allows us to capitalise on this market.”