The owner of Fabulous Jewellers in Leamington Spa has been busy preparing for life after lockdown since the BRC released its guidelines last week.
Following the advice, the jewellery retailer spoke to the manager of the shopping centre her store is located in, and the BID director, in order to make a plan that considers the BRC’s recommendations and the town’s own plans for retail revival.
Fabulous owner, Jo Stroud, tells Professional Jeweller: “My feeling is that we need to be prepared now, as I’m not sure how much notice the government will give us.”
So far the jeweller has done the following to prepare for life after lockdown:
- Mapped out where a queue can form outside the store, along the window, and agreed it with the shopping centre’s management team
- Ordered large ‘2 metres apart’ floor stickers (in Fabulous pink) for the queueing area and for inside the store, as well as directional floor stickers
- Planned a one-way route around the store, including a separate area for click and collect
- Decided to let four customers maximum into the store at any one time to enable social distancing
- Plans to only open one till initially
- Plans to put an easel at the front of the store, explaining the measures to customers, and have one team member meeting and greeting
Stroud also says shop floor staff will wear disposable gloves when serving a customer and hand sanitiser will be placed at the tills. The team will also frequently disinfect the counters and wash their hands throughout the day.
To ensure an understanding among staff, employees will be asked to read and sign a clear agreement to follow the new health and safety procedures put in place.
Stroud believe the biggest challenge Fabulous and other retailers will face is the ending of the furlough scheme once stores reopen.
She explains: “It is highly likely that high street footfall will stay very low for some months yet, even after the easing of lockdown, and yet we will all have to absorb once again the full costs of running our business, without the full turnover returning. High street retail has become more and more marginal over the years, and this will be a further challenge.”
To combat a drop in footfall, Stroud is looking to offer Zoom calls to customers so the team can showcase jewellery to those who still do not want to leave their houses to go shopping.
“I count ourselves very lucky that we had a busy online presence already,” Stroud says. “Fabulous has always had a busy website, and our own Mantra brand is an online-only brand, so we have been very busy throughout lockdown. Fabulous online is 70% ahead of last April, and Mantra is 77% ahead, so the online space has held up very well.”