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Will it Be a Merry Christmas?

Retailrap

By Phyllis Schiller
The 4Cs are not the only things that make a piece of diamond jewelry a sales winner. In an ongoing series, Rapaport Diamond Report explores the “3Ws” — what’s selling, what’s not and why — by going straight to the people who really know — jewelry retailers. Each month, we ask a sampling of retailers to comment on the important issues that are facing the industry today. Here is what they had to say in late October when asked: What are your expectations for this holiday season? Are you doing anything special to promote sales?


PHILIP DUPUIS, OWNER

DUPUIS ET FILS JEWELERS AND GOLDSMITHS

JACKSON, MICHIGAN

“I think it will be a better Christmas this year, just from the fact that so far, this year has shaped up better than last year. So that’s what I’m anticipating at the moment.

“As far as promoting, what we’re planning on emphasizing is the fact that a lot of our inventory is based on the lower gold prices, purchased prior to when we saw the big spikes in the prices. So this way we can show customers that they’re getting very good value. ”



WAYNE ADDESSI, PRESIDENT

ADDESSI JEWELERS

RIDGEFIELD, CONNECTICUT

“Last year, we had a good fall and so I anticipated a good Christmas — not great, but good. And it was disappointing; it was just a fair Christmas. This year, from January up until now, we’ve had a great year, with mostly very high-end, very good sales. I’ve had two of the largest sales in the history of our business this year. We’re actually where we were in 2008, which is good; I’m happy with that.

“Based on what’s happened over the past two or three months, there’s definitely more optimism. Our traffic, our base business — appraisals, jewelry repairs, resettings — and the foot traffic have been very nice and steady; much better than last year. So I am anticipating that this holiday season will be better than last.

“I don’t plan on doing anything too differently than I’ve done in the past. We will participate in our town’s Holiday Stroll, a weekend-long event that kicks off the holiday season. Going forward from that, it’s just keeping the hours and being here for the customers. I’m doing a lot of internet marketing, not much print advertising, using Google ads and keyword search words.

“The reality is that each day we open our doors and we work hard at trying to make it work. And when that customer comes through the door, when the telephone rings, those are opportunities. We try to focus on the positives. Last year, it was one day at a time; this year, it’s a month at a time.”



CHARLA HALL, MANAGER

BAKER & BAKER JEWELERS

MARIETTA, OHIO

“ I always like to be cautiously optimistic for fourth quarter. And I do think that we all should have a better year this year than last year. The stock market has somewhat taken the turn, so I think people will be out more this year and hopefully willing to spend a little more than usual.

“We only do one sale a year; our 92nd anniversary sale is in early November, and that’s the kick-off for the holiday season. We also do a couple of direct mailers with a coupon that gives you $50 off a purchase of xx dollars. And they’re dated up through Christmas.

“We had a much better year last year than the year before; which is kind of different than most stores. Going into this year, I don’t think there’s as much traffic coming in, but the people who are coming in are buying.”



RICHARD ROSS, PRESIDENT/OWNER

TILDEN ROSS JEWELERS

SARASOTA, FLORIDA

“We’re planning for average Christmas sales; we’re not anticipating anything too soft or too busy. Our situation is a little bit different. We’re in Florida and we’re on a tourist island and the week after Christmas is busier for us here than the week before Christmas.

“We don’t do any special holiday promotions. We try to maintain our image and our quality. Just because people are spending less today, you can’t change who you are and start bringing in lower-end products. So we’re continuing to do the same thing but working extra, extra hard in servicing our customers and keeping them happy. And I think the time will come when people will start spending money again.”



RICHARD WHITE, OWNER

ED WHITE JEWELERS

CULLMAN, ALABAMA

“I haven’t got a clue what’s going to happen this season. Business is normal for us, we continue to do advertising and so forth. But I have no idea what to expect. The past couple of weeks have been very soft. There have been virtually no sales going on.

“In terms of stock, we put a little bit more emphasis on silver, designer lines with a mix of silver and gold. We’re trying to keep the prices down. I really feel the $5,000 and over retail pieces are going to be nonexistent.”



SUE KARR, GENERAL MANAGER

GOULD’S DIAMONDS AND JEWELRY

ANOKA, MINNESOTA

“I am very optimistic for the holiday season. Our sales have been up the past couple of months tremendously; we’re ahead of last year. We are in a new store; this will be our third Christmas here. We made a move at a hard time. But now people are finding us.

“We’re located in Anoka, the Halloween capital of the world, so our kick-off for the holiday season is a Halloween beading event with Chamilia, a local company here, followed by a watch event with Ball in November. We also do other events, such as offering to put in a free watch battery for customers bringing canned goods for the local food shelf, and serving as a drop-off location for Toys for Tots, to keep traffic up.”



JIM JESSOP, OWNER

JESSOP JEWELERS

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

 “I think in Southern California, we’re going to see a pretty weak holiday season. I think it will be flat compared with last year, certainly not as good as 2007. We’re reaching out to our customers more. We are making great efforts to contact, and stay in contact with, our good clients who have supported us for so long. In terms of merchandise, I’m going heavier on estate pieces and merchandise that can reflect real value to our clients.”



ELLEN LACY, OWNER

LACY & CO

EL PASO, TEXAS

“I think we’ll see better what the holidays will bring after the elections. If the elections go a certain way, my customers who have more available money to spend on jewelry will be more inclined to spend it. But if things don’t go the way they think they should go, then they will be much less inclined. This is a really big election year. It’s a response that you usually only see every four years but because of the situation in this country, you’re seeing it on the two-year cycle. My traffic has not been as good this October as it has been before. And the election is the only thing I can attribute it to because the economy in El Paso is strong. I think it’s just a matter of people waiting to see whether they’re going to have any money left.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2010. To subscribe click here.

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