Watches of Switzerland preps for reopening 

Watches of Switzerland has announced that it will reopen its stores across England on 15 June. 

All Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths stores in the country will reopen, while its showrooms in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and UK airports are expected to open at a later date.

Following a consultation with an independent health and safety consultant, as well as a range of necessary risk assessments, the group confirmed it is “Covid-secure” and ready to reopen operations next week. 

Upon reopening, its showrooms will use a by-appointment-only system, with customers encouraged to contact their nearest showroom to arrange a visit,  or use the enquiry form online.  In addition, there will also be a number of walk-in appointments available each day. 

This system will help manage in-store footfall, and each showroom will have a maximum occupancy level, determined by the size of the showroom and the number of colleagues there. 

In addition, social distancing measures will be signposted and “carefully adhered” to in all showrooms, and only cashless payments will be accepted. 

Gloves, protective masks and hand sanitiser will be provided, while sneeze screens have also been implemented at consultation desks. Strict cleaning protocols will also be in place for products, including the use of a UV sanitiser.

Brian Duffy, The Watches of Switzerland Group chief executive, said: “Clearly, lockdown has had a significant impact on our business with stores closed for more than two months. 

“This is therefore a very positive moment for group colleagues, who are excited to return to work and serve our loyal clients. It’s also an exciting moment for watch enthusiasts, who have been waiting patiently to view this year’s new products.”

He added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a uniquely difficult period for the whole world. By reopening on June 15, we are demonstrating to our clients and to the industry that The Watches of Switzerland Group is a dynamic, adaptable and optimistic business. 

“We are confident in this reopening schedule and delighted to be able to offer our clients a safe, comfortable environment in which they can realise their dreams of owning a luxury Swiss watch.”

It comes as the group has seen a “significant growth” in its ecommerce business, which saw an 82.8% year-on-year increase in April.  Since lockdown, it has offered clients pieces from its high-end brand partners, including Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre.

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