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David Brown

By the Numbers: Sales Rebound From Early Year Slump

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Hooray for April! The beginning of the second quarter snapped a three-month decline in sales at independent jewelry stores, with same-store sales surging 22 percent on-year to an average of $103,418. If this keeps up, 2014 sales could come in 12 percent ahead of last year’s total. Overall, it was a strong set of numbers with average sale, units sold, and total profit dollars all showing a nice improvement. The only black spot was margin, which shrank to 44 percent from 48 percent in April 2013. Had margin been maintained at the 2013 level, the jewelers in our survey group would on average have banked an extra $3,840 at the end of the month. Obviously there is some correlation between lower margins and higher sales but for the most part, preserving margins is often about being creative, and strong. Here are a few things you can do to protect your profitability:

  • Ask enough for the item in the first place. Make sure you give yourself some cushion to fend off discount-hungry consumers.
  • Leverage your stars. If an item is a good seller, ask more for it.
  • Don’t forget the cents. I know a store that made an extra $6,000 in net profit during the year simply by adding $0.95 onto the price of everything under $200.
  • Try saying no. Around 50 percent of people will accept it. As for those who push, try offering an alternative slow-selling item or negotiate some terms to offset some of the cost of discounting.

For the full story and more ideas to improve your store’s performance, visit instr.us/7142

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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