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David Brown

By the Numbers: Diamonds Lead the Way Again

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May was another strong month for stores in our survey group, with sales surging 1.5 percent on a 12-month rolling basis to $131,947. It means store sales at the typical U.S. independent jeweler are up almost 20 percent from the same month in 2013.

What’s driving this improvement? In a word, diamonds.

Same-store diamond sales have surged since May 2011 from $450,000 a year to $800,000 in 2014, an increase of 77 percent in three years. Most stores in our survey have seen the contribution from diamonds increase significantly from a low of under 40 percent during the recession to over 50 percent now. If you’re not achieving such percentages, you need to ask yourself why. Start with these three questions:

1. Is your inventory saleable? If you haven’t checked your inventory recently then it’s time to pull out your old pieces and ask, how can we move these and find more fast sellers or better price points?

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2. Is your staff up to selling the product? Many employees hired during the recession have little diamond experience. Ensure they have the necessary training and knowledge of your product.

3. Are you in the right headspace to sell? If you’re still functioning in 2009 with the belief that diamond sales are hard to come by, then guess what? They will be. Knowing other jewelers are doing well in this area should be enough to get you rethinking your approach.

For the full story and more ideas to improve your store’s performance, visit instr.us/8141

Data gathered from the POS systems of more than 250 stores by the Edge Retail Academy(edgeretailacademy.com). To join the benchmarking panel, email [email protected].

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For 25 years, Stafford Jewelers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was THE place to go for special gifts, engagement diamonds, high-end Swiss watch brands — in other words, the crème de la crème of fine jewelry. But this summer, the Stafford family was ready to retire. So, they chose Wilkerson to help them close up shop. “One of the biggest concerns was having the sale in the middle of COVID,” says Director of Stores Michelle Randle. Wilkerson gave the Stafford team plenty of ideas as well as safety guidelines, which they closely followed. “All of the employees felt safe, the customers coming in the door felt safe and we did a lot of business,” says Randle. How much business? “The inventory flew,” she says. Translation: They sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of merchandise. Randle calls it, “an incredible experience.” Would she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers who are thinking of thinning their inventories or retiring? “Everyone got more than what they expected out of the sale. You have to hire Wilkerson. They’re amazing.”

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