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News - 23 May 2005
|Still largely independent|
Good news for The Lanes
While most independent retailers are struggling to come to terms with competition from the big, high street names and supermarkets at least one sector is bucking the trend, which is good news for the jewellery dominated Lanes in Brighton.
There are just under 8,500 jewellery shops in the UK and nearly 60% of them are independently owned and managed and demand has increased dramatically over the past six years. Spending on jewellery grew to £4.1bn in 2003 from just under £3bn in 1999.
There has been competition from larger chains and even supermarkets but it has yet to bite into the sector as a whole. This is possibly because jewellers tend to build up a close relationship with many of their customers, which generates loyalty and repeat visits. This could also explain why internet sales, at just 2% of the market are low compared to general retail sales. However, complacency would be a mistake and the weakness in the sector has been identified by some commentators as unimaginative marketing which means many outlets still rely heavily on old-fashioned window displays and passing trade to attract new business.
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