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While the floods have affected nearly all Queensland retailers, not many of them were directly devastated
While the floods have affected nearly all Queensland retailers, not many of them were directly devastated
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Jewellers fear long-term flood woes

Jewellers in Queensland expect trade to stall following the devastating floods, yet only a small percentage have reported being directly hit by the disaster.
Many retailers were lucky to escape with minimal or no damages. All were united, however, in their predictions that it would be a very slow six to 12 months.

Geoff Pascoe of Pascoe Jewellers owns three stores in the worst hit parts of Queensland: Toowomba, Brassall and Ipswich. In what he described as a “miracle” however, his stores escaped unscathed.

Despite his good fortune, Pascoe had to close his stores for between two to five days because they were inaccessible.

“Although our shops weren’t affected, trade was down 80 per cent last week. Even now, it’s very difficult,” he said.

To combat the loss in sales, Pascoe held a three-day half price Sale. Although sales were made, Pascoe said they were “a third of what you usually get when you conduct that sort of Sale.”

Rick Vella of Laidley Jewellers said he had 10 to 15 cm of water seep through his store. Although carpets, display cabinets and laminated bases suffered the brunt of the leak, Vella considered himself lucky.

“I was expecting it to be far worse. Our location and the slight elevation of our floors meant we got off lucky,” he said.

Despite the doom and gloom, some jewellers believe the disaster could actually act as a sales stimulus.

“Tradesman like builders, electricians and carpet salesmen will be making sales. The government is hanging out a lot of money and they know the tradesmen are good spenders so there may be a stimulus effect,” Vella explained.

Showcase Jewellers marketing manager Toni Kratsas predicted a similar silver lining.

“Certain industries and trades will pick up and funds will continue to circulate in these immediate economies; hopefully it will lead to traffic for our jewellery stores because people will still continue to get engaged and celebrate milestones in their lives,” Kratsas said.

Bill Beckman, who owns Gatton Jewellers, was not directly devastated but many of his customers in the nearby Grantham were washed away by the floodwaters.

He predicts extremely trying times for the next 12 months.

A fundraising endeavour of the Chamber of Commerce in Laidley, where retailer Rick Vella is from demonstrates the optimism of the local communities
A fundraising endeavour of the Chamber of Commerce in Laidley, where retailer Rick Vella is from demonstrates the optimism of the local communities

“Queensland is going to suffer for a long time. A bulk of our customers come from the meatpacking industries, the nurseries and the farms which were all wiped out,” he said.

Barry Jackson, director of Nationwide, echoed Beckman’s views and said what was more worrying than the actual flood was the long-term ramifications.

“For some months if not years, Queensland customers will be trying to sort their lives out and money will be spent on essentials rather than luxuries,” Jackson said.

“Add this to the damage caused to the economy by ruined crops and flooded mines. Realistically, jewellery retailers could be in for a very lean time,” he said.

The buying groups' role

All three buying groups reported that jewellery retailers had been relatively fortunate.

Showcase Jewellers revealed that only one of its member stores was directly wiped out by the floodwaters. General manager Joshua Zarb said none of his members had flood waters inundate their businesses.

Nationwide is assessing the extent of the damage of its members and is in the process of forwarding insurance guides to assist its members with their claims.

“When we know how many shops have been damaged, we will make a decision regarding some form of promotion to help them recoup their lost business,” Jackson said.

Kratsas said Showcase has rallied its members to raise money for the victims of the floods and has raised $25,000 so far.

Zarb said Leading Edge has been working with its affected members on a one-on-one basis to extend trading terms, provide additional services and advise them on the group insurance scheme in place.

Like Showcase, Leading Edge has set up a relief fund for affected members.

More reading:

Expertise quells fears about Brisbane fair

Jeweller magazine calls for support










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Wednesday, 11 December, 2019 06:51pm
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