Closed: The closing sale at the Harbourside store on Front Street saw AS Coopers “move a lot of goods”, according to managing director Somers Cooper. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Closed: The closing sale at the Harbourside store on Front Street saw AS Coopers “move a lot of goods”, according to managing director Somers Cooper. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

AS Cooper is planning to move its Picturesque Gallery into the Walker Arcade before May.

The gallery will move into the location currently occupied by the Astwood Dickinson shop, which in turn will be consolidated into the AS Cooper & Sons main shop and the main Astwood Dickinson store on Front Street.

Managing director Somers Cooper told the Bermuda Sun his company will be “leaner and meaner” with the consolidation moves, which includes the closure of the Harbourside store.

“Our fiscal years started Monday. It will give us the opportunity to really focus on our core businesses.

“We’re not sure if the Bermuda economy has hit bottom yet, but we’re well prepared for another sort of a neutral at best year. “We’re hoping there’s some light at the end of the tunnel and that consumer confidence will slowly start to rebuild.”

Mr Cooper said he took the election of the OBA in the December general election as one positive sign.

“We definitely saw a bump after the election in December. Business was below par prior to the election and then better than average afterwards. Some of the new initiatives taken on by the Government will help us see positive signs ahead.”

He said the business plan for this year projects flat growth.

“If we meet that plan, we’ll be extremely happy. We’ve seen many months of decline and we’re looking for signs that show the decreases are becoming smaller and we haven’t seen that yet.

“We’re bracing ourselves for a mediocre year at best.”

He said The Walker Arcade Astwood Dickinson product will go “back into the Astwood Dickinson store and into the AS Cooper fine jewellery area. We’re changing that area into a Picturesque Gallery, which we also own.

“We’re hoping that location will give that product a boost as we’ve sort of been off the beaten path down at the Design Centre near the Supermart.

“We’re looking at some new lines of product, which I can’t reveal yet, in the main Cooper store, which will hopefully spark some interest from the buying public.”

Mr Cooper said with a smaller market it makes good financial sense to consolidate the jewellery into as few locations as possible.

“This should also make it easier for the buying public to find what it’s looking for.”

Cooper & Sons completed the closing sale of its Harbourside store on February 1. The consolidation move was due in part to a lack of a dedicated cruise ship in Hamilton for this coming season.

Mr Cooper said: “We were able to move a lot of goods. Not only did we have Harbourside product down there but we moved our sales goods from our other locations down there as well. It was quite a beehive of activity for the last few weeks.”

He said the sale met his expectation “at a lower price than we would have normally, if we weren’t moving out of the location, but it was all about getting the space empty for the Corporation of Hamilton to take it back.”

Mr Cooper said the plus size fashions are in the process of being relocated to the second floor to the main store as well as the accessories.

“We’ll have a new accessories department.”

He added AS Cooper & Sons would currently get out of the home goods — pillows, sheets, towels — business, but the Yankee Candle section will be relocated to the first floor.