Jewellery retailers opened their doors for the first time in months last week and they have been pleasantly surprised by the response.
Many kept their expectations and forecasts low, in anticipation that shoppers may be slow to return to the high street, but they were pleasantly surprised to see that people have been ready and waiting to shop in physical stores again.
Talking to jewellers across England, gifts were the order of the day – with many revealing that their customers had been waiting to buy special purchased for loved ones in the flesh.
“There have also been a lot of customers who have been waiting to buy belated presents and treats,” shares W. Bruford managing director, Ashley Pugh, with Harriet France of Jeremy France Jewellers adding that consumers have been buying diamond jewellery for “missed” occasions.
Engagement, eternity and wedding bands have also been popular – whether consumers have just been acquiring and starting the process of finding the perfect piece, or actually making a purchase in the first week of stores opening.
Anja Potze of the namesake jewellery store reveals: “We have sold a variety of pieces, including a bespoke sapphire and diamond engagement ring, a three stone oval diamond ring, and a heavy cushion shaped men’s signet ring in 18ct yellow gold.
“We have also had an influx of wedding band enquiries, following a few lockdown proposals. As well as lots of other smaller pieces and bespoke enquiries.”
Forum Jewellers managing director, Helen Molloy adds: “The majority of customers have been watch batteries and repairs, however we’ve also had engagement and eternity ring sales, plus gift purchasing.”
For fashion-forward Fabulous jewellers, the store owner has seen sales across a variety of brands.
Jo Stroud shares: “We’ve actually sold across a whole range of things, with eight different brands all having some level of sales this first week.
“Nomination has been our most popular brand, followed by Thomas Sabo – but this reflects the normal pattern in our store. There was definitely some pent-up demand for Nomination, and customers have been waiting for help to add charms to their bracelets or move charms around.”
Others revealed there was no pattern to what consumers were buying, with one jeweller selling everything from a cultured pearl necklace to a fashion jewellery watch and cluster rings.
For the Watches of Switzerland Group, Rolex and luxury watches have been in high demand, but UK executive, Craig Bolton, says jewellery has shown positive growth in the first week trading on the high street again.
Repairs have also been popular and stores offering bespoke designers have had a hurry of customers booking in appointments to confirm designs and see stones in the flesh after starting the process online.
Find out how the first week of trading went for jewellery retailers in England below: