But parent group Merchant Retail – which includes The Perfume Shop chain and Joplings stores in the UK – put in a strong performance overall, with group sales up 14% on the same period last year and five per cent up on a like-for-like basis.
erchant Retail said that the Jersey shop had experienced the same challenging spending environment as in the UK.
‘Almost the entire industry was in promotion from the beginning of November, but the customer continued to delay purchases in the knowledge that the traditional January sales period may offer even further value,’ says the Christmas trading statement.
ales in Jersey, which dropped four per cent in the 40 weeks to 3 January, were slightly up on the group’s Joplings stores in the north-east of England, where sales fell by five per cent in the same period and by nine per cent in the seven weeks to 3 January.
roup chief executive Philip Newton said that he continued to remain confident of the future for the de Gruchy business.
‘The department store sector has had a tough time and de Gruchy has reacted as well as any one,’ he said.
‘The fact that Jersey has its own difficulties, in terms of the finance industry and so on, does not help either.
But as I have said before, de Gruchy has got to be modernised.
We have just started on the next phase, a £1.
million refurbishment of the ground floor, to make it modern and welcoming for the customer.
We’ve got to persuade the customer that de Gruchy is the place to shop, but that won’t happen overnight.
I see it as a medium-term investment.
When Abraham de Gruchy first started the store he wasn’t after the quick bucks either.
Last month, Merchant Retail donated part of the de Gruchy’s property at 16 New Street to the National Trust.
Mr Newton said that among the finds discovered in the Georgian building was the very first till book.
‘I saw something down the back of a filing cabinet that looked like a cricket bat, but it turned out to be a very long book – about three feet long – and it was Abraham de Gruchy’s from the first day they opened the business.
Currently all such documents are earmarked for the Jersey Archive, but Mr Newton said that once the refurbishment was complete a number of items would be displayed, ‘so people can see them every day’.