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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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Video: Jewelry Store Owner Hits Robbers With Jars of Pickles

3 suspects have been arrested.

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A jeweler in Sandy Springs, GA, fought off robbers by using pickle jars, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The owner and witnesses managed to subdue two suspects, holiding them until police arrived on the scene. The robbery happened late Saturday afternoon at a store on Abernathy Road close to Roswell Road, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Police said three people have been arrested: 40-year-old Antonio Collier, 17-year-old Antwan DeKarlos Robinson a 16-year-old suspect. They’re charged with several crimes, including armed robbery as well as battery.

A fourth suspect is being sought.

A witness said that when the robbers entered the store, “they had hammers and were breaking everything and grabbed Rolexes.”

The owner reportedly struck the suspects with a bag of pickle jars, hitting them in the face and head.

Two of the suspects got away, resulting in a police chase and car crash, authorities said. One of the suspects in the car was arrested and the other ran away.

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Jewelry Store Was Going Out of Business … But a Former Employee Had Other Ideas (Video)

Stan and Mary Sherwin operated the store for 40 years but decided to retire.

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A jewelry store in Atascadero, CA, was about to close for good as its owners retired.

But a former employee had other ideas.

Stan and Mary Sherwin operated K. Jons Diamonds and Gems for 40 years and were set to cease operations in early January, The Tribune reports.

But then Lindsay Jane Chatham, who began working for the store as a teenager and continued for several years, decided to move back to town with her husband, Greg, and take over the business.

“We found out they were retiring, and so many things had to fall into place. It was crazy,” she was quoted saying.

The store will operate as K. Jons Jewelry Co., according to The Tribune.

The Chathams, both of whom are gemologists, will lease the store space from the Sherwins. They’ll keep most of K. Jons’s employees.

One thing they aren’t buying from the Sherwins is inventory. Most of that was purchased in a going-out-of-business sale.

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Louis Vuitton to Sell Jewelry Made From World’s Second-Largest Diamond

The deal follows LVMH’s acquisition of Tiffany & Co.

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LVMH Sewelo Diamon

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE has entered a deal to sell jewelry made from the world’s second-largest diamond, known as the Sewelo diamond.

It’s a 1,758 carat gem that’s the size of a tennis ball.

Lucara Diamond Corp. announced a deal with LVMH and the HB Co., a diamond manufacturer from Antwerp, that will see the diamond cut into pieces and made into Louis Vuitton jewelry.

Bloomberg reports that LVMH “will likely create several extremely high-end pieces  to establish a sense of exclusivity.”

A price tag for the Sewelo has not been revealed. Yahoo Finance notes that it sold for $53 million in 2017.

The acquisition is further evidence of LVMH’s plans to grow its jewelry business, according to Bloomberg. It follows the company’s nearly $16 billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co.

The diamond was recovered from Lucara’s Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana in April 2019.

According to a press release from Lucara:

Lucara will receive an up front non-material payment for the Sewelô and retain a 50% interest in the individual polished diamonds that result.

Further, 5% of all of the retail sales proceeds generated from this historic collection will be invested directly back into Botswana on community-based initiatives undertaken by Lucara.

Lucara CEO Eira Thomas said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Louis Vuitton, the famous luxury House, to transform the historic, 1,758 carat Sewelô, Botswana’s largest diamond, into a collection of fine jewellery that will commemorate this extraordinary discovery and contribute direct benefits to our local communities of interest in Botswana.”

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