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The Watches of Switzerland Group and Beaverbrooks close all stores as H Samuel and Ernest Jones remain open

Beaverbrooks Trafford Centre

Two of the UK’s biggest jewellery retailers, Beaverbrooks and the Watches of Switzerland Group, which owns Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths in the UK, have decided to close all stores today.

Beaverbrooks announced the decision last night on social media, with a message from managing director, Anna Blackburn, telling customers that with an “extremely heavy heart” the company will close all 69 stores from 5pm today (Monday March 23) – but the website will remain operational.

The award-winning MD says: “The safety and wellbeing of our customers, our colleagues and the wider community remain our top priority and we want to do what’s best by them. So it is with an extremely heavy heart that we’ve taken the decision to close all of our 69 stores from 5pm Monday 23rd March.

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“This decision will obviously greatly affect our hundreds of store colleagues, our Beaverbrooks family, and supporting them is our number one focus right now.

“In the meantime, our website and our fabulous customer service team are still 100% here for you. At times like these, love is more important than ever, so for any special moments you wish to celebrate, we are continuing to take & deliver all orders with no delays to deliveries at this time.”

Blackburn asks any customers awaiting an in-store collection to attempt to go into store today to get them or call customer service who will help unite people with their items.

She also assures that during this time the company with continue to do what’s right by Beaverbrooks’ colleagues, support customers whenever they need them, and help the wider community.

“Please keep checking our website, blog and social channels in the coming weeks as we’ll be doing all we can to stay connected and keep together as family,” she adds.

The Watches of Switzerland Group revealed its plan via a press statement this morning.

As the company shared a financial update for the seven weeks to March 15, the retail giant announced that the stores US portfolio is officially closed, while UK stores will shut today (Monday March 23). This includes the York and Kingston boutiques which have only been open a little a week.

As a result, the Group currently expects total revenue for the year to 26 April 2020 to be in the range of £809 million to £812 million.

The group’s chief executive office, Brian Duffy, says: “Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers during these unprecedented times.

“We are taking the necessary steps to mitigate and minimise the impact of this crisis on our business.

We are anticipating a continuation of the store closures into our new financial year which begins on 27 April 2020.

“We remain confident in the strong fundamentals that underpin the luxury watch category including its great value preservation. Demand remains strong and we anticipate that this will be the case when the market returns to more normal conditions. Longer term, we are well positioned to deliver on our plans to leverage our leading position in the UK and become a leader in the US luxury watch market.

“I would like to extend my respect and gratitude to our teams in the UK and in the US who, as ever, have been resilient, resourceful and positive throughout this period.”

Meanwhile Signet-owned H Samuel and Ernest Jones seem to be adopting a ‘business as usual’ attitude, with no mention of the coronavirus on any of its digital platforms and stores still staying open to the public,

Tags : BeaverbrookscoronavirusWatches of Switzerland
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The author Stacey Hailes

Editor, Professional Jeweller

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