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Norwich jeweller Winsor Bishop finds there is still room to grow on the high street

PUBLISHED: 09:16 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:17 19 April 2017

Jessica Whitfield from Winsor Bishop. Picture: Lee Blanchflower

Jessica Whitfield from Winsor Bishop. Picture: Lee Blanchflower

©Lee Blanchflower Photography 2011

One of Norfolk’s most long-established retail names says it has adapted to compete against online rivals – after opening just its second store in its 180-year history.

Winsor Bishop, originally founded as Pegler Brothers in 1834, has been a fixture on London Street for generations, but recently expanded to open a second shop in Cambridge’s Trinity Street, with which it hopes to attract a different clientele.

“In our first few months of trading it has grown a lot, we are pleased with it,” said operations director Jessica Whitfield.

“In Cambridge we have chosen a more contemporary modern look to attract new and potentially younger customers.

“We have been pleased to see that some people do recognise the name.

“It is quite a change going from Norwich where we have been for 180 years to Cambridge where we have been for nearer to 100 days.”

Miss Whitfield said the expansion would see group, which employs around 40 people in Norwich, grow turnover to the £12m mark, a near £3m increase over the last two years.

The jeweller still makes around 85% of its sales in-store and Miss Whitfield said the firm aimed to give customers an experience which could not be replicated online.

She said: “The main thing we have noticed is that the footfall has dropped because a lot of people do a lot of online research.

“It is very common that when people come into our stores they have already researched the product, know where they can buy it from and only come in to actually buy it.

“Footfall is lower but our conversion rate for customers is much higher.

“Because anyone can go on the internet, research an item and find out how much it costs, we have decided to work on the experiential side.”

Miss Whitfield said the luxury nature of the products means customers valued face-to-face advice. She said: “This is something most people have to save up for.

“It is not a 15-minute job, it is a considered purchase. Customers want to know the name of the person they are buying from so they can go back to them if anything goes wrong.”

Winsor Bishop also owns jewellery franchise Swarovski at intu Chapelfield.

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