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LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN: Beaverbrooks unveils comprehensive plan for safely reopening its 70 stores

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Award-winning jeweller Beaverbrooks has confirmed it will be opening all of its 70 stores on June 15, providing the Government continue to give non-essential retailers the green light to do so.

Life after lockdown will include protective perspex screens at consultation points, designated team members for shoppers, fewer selling zones, and reduced numbers allowed into stores, but the jeweller assures that customers will be permitted to try on jewellery at each boutique.

Family-owned Beaverbrooks has a comprehensive plan in place for reopening its stores safely, which include floor markings and physical boundaries to ensure safe social distancing for customers and colleagues, daily temperature checks for team members, and hand sanitizer stations at the entrance and throughout the store which will be mandatory for shoppers to use before entering.

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Each store team will have a customer host to greet shoppers upon arrival and a designated team member to provide personalised service and assistance during their visit.

Aside from the host, colleagues will not be required to wear face masks or PPE, but will have the option to do so if they choose, to prevent the risk of spreading the virus. Masks and gloves will also be available for customers should they choose to wear them, and individual appointments will be permitted for special purchases such as engagement rings, but will be limited to the beginning and end of the day.

Managing director at Beaverbrooks, Anna Blackburn, shares: “As always, the safety of our people and customers is our number one priority, so we have been working hard behind the scenes to put measures in place to protect them when we reopen our doors.

“Over the past few months, we have been developing comprehensive plans for this reopening, which put safety at the top of the list while ensuring we are able to resume the high level of personalised service our customers expect.”

The jeweller has also outlined the measures it has put in place to allow customers to try on jewellery safely, as it believes sentimental items and considered purchases such as gifts should be seen by customers up close and in person, so they can get a feel of the precious metals, gemstones, diamonds and watches.

It has therefore introduced a rigorous hygiene process to enable them to do this, with limited stock rotated on a regular basis and the use of a specialist cleaning solution that will disinfect jewellery between wears, killing germs without damaging valuable diamonds, jewellery or watches.

The retailer is confident in its approach and hopes the new measures will help to give customers the assurance that they can still try on important purchases such as wedding and engagement rings, as well as checking sizing and compatibility.

Blackburn adds: “In addition to taking key steps to ensure customers will be able to shop in a safe environment, it was important to us that people would still be able to try on their jewellery before buying – particularly for sentimental items.

“An engagement ring is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make and to be able to see the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond for yourself and fall in love with the ring is so important – it’s a special moment and an experience you can only really get by being there in person. The introduction of our jewellery cleaning process and increased hygiene measures will mean customers can do this safely, allowing them to continue to celebrate those special moments that are perhaps more important now than ever before.”

The directors and Blackburn, along with the senior management team, have been actively involved in the reopening plans, from personal visits to stores and the warehouse to help implement the changes to ensure the safety of the company’s people, to developing the plans for reformatting of stores in line with Government guidance.

“It has been a challenging and uncertain time for all of us, but we are feeling optimistic about the future, our 960 colleagues are looking forward to reopening our doors to welcome customers again in just a few short weeks,” concludes Blackburn.

Beaverbrooks was one of the first retailers to take the decision to close its stores and online warehouse operations ahead of the Government’s official announcement in March, in order to protect its colleagues, their families and the wider community.

Following updates to government guidance and significant changes to its warehouse operations, it resumed its online operation on 15 April, and currently has a dedicated team working in the warehouse, with limited personnel and reduced hours, in order to safely process online orders.

Despite its stores currently being closed, the brand has seen a continued demand for jewellery and watches, with customers still wanting to celebrate special moments with loved ones throughout the crisis, with a shift to online purchasing.

Beaverbrooks is planning to reopen its 70 stores from 15 June. English stores will be open seven days a week though opening times may vary.

Stores will be open for all services including returns, repairs, services and click & collection. The only exception will be cleaning of customer jewellery which we cannot be completed safely at this time.

Beaverbrooks is pending further updates from the Scottish Government on when its Scottish stores will be reopening.

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The author Stacey Hailes

Editor, Professional Jeweller

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