‘Ghost town’ concerns as jewellery chain departs

H. Samuel in Weston's High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

H. Samuel in Weston's High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A mass-market jewellery chain has closed its Weston town centre store in another huge blow to the High Street.

The Mercury can exclusively reveal H. Samuel has withdrawn its store lease.

The retailer was due to close on March 28, but with new government measures introduced forcing any shops selling non-essential goods to close due to coronavirus, the store has shut with immediate effect.

It comes as another nationwide retailer, Argos, will shut its prominent High Street store on Saturday and flagship unit Marks & Spencer has been vacant since its closure last April.

In February, cosmetic retailer The Body Shop closed its Sovereign Shopping Centre unit after deciding not to renew its lease.

H. Samuel in Weston's High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

H. Samuel in Weston's High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

MORE: Body Shop decides not to renew Sovereign Shopping Centre lease.

An H. Samuel employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Mercury Weston is ‘turning into a ghost town’.

They said: “We had no official letter from the company as they wanted it kept quiet but the store manger announced it to the team.

“The staff feel very let down by the company as the communication has been very poor, we are all struggling to find jobs as Weston is turning into a ghost down.

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“I believe other stores are due to be closed in Somerset but they are not saying when sales and targets have been hard to reach in the company and they are having issues company-wide, including in America.

“We have not been told of any redundancy payment yet. I have heard that the Taunton and Bridgwater stores are also both earmarked to be closed.

“I am looking for other employment as I still have bills to pay and with my future at the moment not set in stone, it’s hard.”

H. Samuel is part of the Signet Group of jewellery retailers.

A Signet spokesman said it has left Weston after it decided not to renew the store’s lease.

They added: “We continually re-assess our portfolio on a store by store basis, particularly when individual leases come up for renewal.

“This particular closure of the H. Samuel store bears no reflection upon the future plans of the Signet business estate overall within the UK.

“We are sorry to be leaving Weston, however, we do have a wide online offering with next-day delivery service.”

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