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Average Ticket Edges Higher As Strong Season Continues

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See the results of our latest Holiday Season Mini-Survey.

Jewelers reported that momentum was building toward a very strong 2017 holiday season, according to the second INSTORE Holiday Season Mini-Survey.

As we enter the home stretch, the positive reviews of the holiday season we’ve been seeing since Black Friday continue to roll in. In our fourth Brain Squad Mini Survey, 36 percent of jewelers described the season so far as “terrific” or “better than expected”, while 27 percent rated it negatively. The rest said it was on par with expectations.

 

CUSTOMER TRAFFIC COMPARED TO LAST YEAR

 

AVERAGE TICKET COMPARED TO LAST YEAR

While those levels have changed little in the three weeks since we started doing our holiday surveys, one trend that has become more prominent is declining customer traffic but higher tickets. Only 29 percent of jewelers said their traffic was up over the same period in 2016 (vs. 36 percent who said it was down), but 44 percent said their average ticket was up (vs. 22 percent who said it had declined).

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“Sales are up, transactions are down. Custom is very strong, people know what they want and want it made,” said Susan Kauffman at Black Dog Jewelers, Lewisburg, PA.

The strong sales numbers could also be seen in the way average ticket has steadily climbed over the season. In our first mini survey, 43 percent of jewelers said their average sale was over $350. In this weekend’s survey, the portion of jewelers reporting such a high number had climbed to 48 percent.

“Many customers tell me that they had the best year in their businesses and therefore seem to be spending more this year because of that,” said Tom Duma, owner of Thom Duma Fine Jewelers in Warren, OH.

Added Kim Hatchell, the manager at Galloway & Moseley, in Sumter, SC: “People are definitely more comfortable than last year, and spending more.”

In addition to the lift from a strong economy there is evidence jewelers are getting a better handle on the new retail environment.  “I feel blessed to have the business we do. Changes are fine and we are adapting nicely to the new generation of retail,” said Brenda Newman, owner of The Jewelry Source in El Segundo, CA.

As for what’s selling well, diamonds, silver and custom continue to dominate the list. “Diamond necklaces, diamond earrings and diamond rings still are making the most headlines here in the Midwest,” reported Denise Oros, owner of Linnea Jewelers in La Grange, IL “Santa’s sleigh has made several stops at our front door to pickup delightful goodies for good little girls.”

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More than 150 jewelers from 36 states and Canada responded to our survey, which was sent out on Monday morning. We’ll send out our final holiday season survey next week. Please look out for it.

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Jeweler, Coin Dealer Charged With Precious-Metal Violations

They allegedly failed to meet reporting requirements.

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YORK, PA – A jeweler and a coin dealer have been accused in Pennsylvania with violating reporting requirements for precious-metal sales.

The York County district attorney filed charges against James Zimmerman of Zimmerman Jewelers and Dennis Steinmetz of Steinmetz Coins and Currency.

A Pennsylvania statute mandates, “A copy of every record of transaction shall be delivered or mailed to the district attorney of the county in which a purchase of precious metals is made by the close of the next working day after the day on which the metal is purchased.”

Both owners were contacted on Jan. 15 advising them that they were to return to compliance, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office. From Feb. 1 to present, Zimmerman Jewelers has had a 37% compliance rate, and Steinmetz Coins and Currency had a compliance rate of 17%, according to the release.

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The York County District Attorney’s Office stated that it “has invested significant time and money in an effort to make submissions easier on precious metals dealers by creating a web-based reporting system.” Over the past two years, the program has grown to include Lebanon County and is in the process of expanding to Cumberland County. There are currently over 50 precious metal dealers using the website, who maintain an average 94% compliance rate.

District Attorney Dave Sunday said, “It is the legal obligation of every precious metal dealer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide this information to their jurisdiction’s District Attorney. Data from this website has proven to be an invaluable tool, aiding municipal law enforcement officers in solving drug and property crimes, and helping to reunite stolen items with their rightful owners.”

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World’s Largest Diamond Mine to Close ⁠— Here’s What That Could Mean

The mine is known for producing pink and red diamonds.

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Rio Tinto Group plans to close its Argyle mine in western Australia, and that could bring a rise in the price of pink diamonds.

The mine is well-known for producing pink and red diamonds, Bloomberg reports.

In fact, 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds come from the mine, although such stones are only a tiny percentage of Argyle’s total production. The majority of its production consists of brown diamonds, which are less valuable.

The mine is the world’s largest producer of diamonds by volume.

Arnaud Soirat, head of copper and diamonds for Rio, told Bloomberg that operations will be shut down in late 2020. By then it’s expected that its supply of economically viable stones will have been exhausted.

Pat Godin, CEO of Stornoway Diamond Corp., has predicted that with the closure, “The rational offset between supply and demand should lead to price growth.”

He told Bloomberg that the effect could be “even more dramatic” for pink diamonds.

“You can imagine the laws of supply and demand will apply, and you can imagine the impact that will have on those very rare pink, red, blue and purple diamonds,” Godin said.

Read more at Bloomberg

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Fashion Jewelry Chain to Close All 261 Stores

3,000 employees could lose their jobs.

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Jewelry and accessories retailer Charming Charlie is closing all of its 261 stores in connection with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed July 11.

Bloomberg reports that over 3,000 full- and -part-time workers could lose their jobs.

The bankruptcy filing is Charming Charlie’s second in the past two year, Bloomberg reports.

Store closing sales are being conducted by a joint venture consisting of Hilco Merchant Resources and SB360 Capital Partners, according to a press release.

Charming Charlie operates in 38 states. A full list of closing stores is available here.

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The liquidation is expected to take two months.

The company’s debt totals $82 million, according to Bloomberg. Its cash on hand amounted to only $6,000  as of the bankruptcy filing.

Charming Charlie is a Houston-based specialty retailer focused on fashion jewelry, handbags, apparel, gifts and beauty products.

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