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Jewelers Report Bright Start to the 2019 Holiday Season

Thanks to higher average tickets and solid foot traffic.

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INDEPENDENT JEWELERS ACROSS the country reported a strong start to the 2019 holiday season with one in three saying they were ahead of last year’s numbers thanks to higher average tickets and solid foot traffic, especially on Small Business Saturday.

“Customers started shopping earlier, which is a blessing considering the shorter holiday this year,” said Rick Nichols, owner of Nassau Jewelry in Fernandina Beach, FL.

Dennis Petimezas, owner of Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry in Johnstown, PA, said he noticed some caution among early shoppers but they are “bringing in the big-ticket items when they do make a decision.”

More than a third of the jewelers who answered our first 2019 holiday season mini survey reported an average sale that was in excess of $600, while 37 percent said it was up from last year. Only 9 percent of jewelers said their average ticket was down. Diamond fashion jewelry, particularly diamond stud earrings, was selling well.

While only a small portion of jewelers described the start to the vital holiday period as “disappointing” (12%) or “dismal” (2%) few were getting ahead of themselves. Increased competition, especially from big online retailers such as Amazon, means most jewelers are expecting to put in some long shifts over the next four weeks, while offering extra personalized service. Then there are the vagaries of the weather.

“This is my 45th year and it’s always unpredictable,” said Larry W. Hall, owner of Baker & Baker Jewelers in Marietta, OH. “I have ‘jacked up’ my staff on the attention-to-detail factors, i.e., look into the customer’s eyes often and, anyone walking in is greeted in seconds. I am looking at the security camera to see if we I recognize the customer to possibly greet them by name … ‘Hello, Mary and Jim!’ Happy holidays…’ and I offer to clean their jewelry and now our sales staff has a captive audience to sell to.”

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The first 2019 Holiday Season Mini survey was taken by more than 100 independent jewelers who are part of our Brain Squad readers group. We will send out more surveys over the course of the holiday season. Look out for the results each Tuesday.

Chris Burslem is Group Managing Editor at SmartWork Media.

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Sales Remain Strong, But Jewelers Moderate Expectations a Bit for 2019 Holiday Season

45% of jewelers in our survey say the season is in line with their projections.

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JEWELERS TEMPERED THEIR expectations for the 2019 holiday season as we entered the second week of December with about one in four store owners telling an INSTORE Mini Survey they had fallen behind target. That compared to just 14 percent who were similarly downbeat following a robust Black Friday opening.

Overall, sales were still strong though. Seven percent of jewelers said they were having a “terrific” season so far, 24 percent said it was better than expected and 45 percent said it was in line with their projections.

“Traffic is up but I was expecting higher traffic as this is our fourth Christmas and have really increased sales over the last year,” said Christopher Sarich, the owner of Noah Gabriel & Co. Jewelers in Wexford, PA.

Tickets continued to be strong with more than a third of jewelers saying their average sale was over $600, while a similar portion of store owners said their store traffic was up over last year (see charts below).

Diamond sales of all kinds — bridal, studs, design, fashion and lab-grown — continued to do well with almost half of the jewelers in our survey citing diamond jewelry as their best-selling item. Custom was also doing well.

“Custom! Everything from scratch to customized assembly,” said Jennifer Farnes, owner of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO.

Given the overall health of the economy and consumers’ appetite for jewelry, this could also be a good season to move aged inventory, suggested Jill Hornik, owner of Jae’s Jewelers in Coral Gables, FL.

“This is the perfect time for an inventory reduction sale to get rid of old stock. We put over 200 items over 5 years old into our case normally designated for a silver designer, and have made 31 times the revenue we normally would within that same case space.”

The second 2019 Holiday Season Mini survey was taken on Monday by 112 independent jewelers who are part of our Brain Squad readers group. We will send out more surveys over the course of the holiday season. Look out for the results each Tuesday.

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Iconic Rolex Could Sell for $18M at Auction

Jack Nicklaus wore it for 50+ years.

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Nicklaus Rolex

A Rolex watch worn by golfer Jack Nicklaus for more than 50 years is going up for auction, according to Yahoo Sports.

And experts say it could bring a price higher than the $17.8 million paid for actor Paul Newman’s Rolex in 2017.

The watch, which is being sold via Phillips Auction House in Manhattan, is described as an 18-karat gold Rolex 1803 Day-Date.

According to Phillips, the watch “has graced the wrist of Mr. Nicklaus nearly every day since he received it as a gift from Rolex in 1967 and was present when he won 12 of his record 18 professional major championship titles.”

This Rolex is “fitted with a stunning and extremely rare champagne‐ colored “pie‐pan”‐style dial, with tapered and faceted baton hour-markers reminiscent of golf tees.”

Sale proceeds will directly benefit the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

“This is the very first watch I ever owned, and the only watch I wore for every professional tournament I’ve won throughout my career,” Nicklaus said.

“It has accompanied me at U.S. Opens, Masters Tournaments, PGA Championships, Open Championships and countless other events for over five decades, and has served me well at every step along the way. Parting ways with this watch is certainly bittersweet. While I will certainly miss the opportunity of wearing the watch and having it serve as a constant reminder of some of my life’s most memorable moments I know that parting with it will help countless children and families impacted through the work of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.”

Read more at Yahoo Sports

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Emma Stone Shows Off Unusual (and Affordable) Engagement Ring — Take a Look

The piece comes from New York-based Catbird.

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Emma Stone engagement ring

Emma Stone is wearing the Winter Pearl Ring, a piece from Catbird that retails for $4,780.

Actress Emma Stone recently showed off her new engagement ring on Instagram.

It’s a piece called the Kataoka Winter Ring from Catbird, and it sells for $4,780 at retail, the New York Post’s Page Six reports.

Stone is engaged to David McCary, segment director for “Saturday Night Live.”

According to Catbird’s website, the ring comes “straight from the Tokyo workshop of master jeweler Yoshinobu Kataoka” and includes “a lustrous pearl … surrounded by Kataoka’s signature snowflake motif.”

It’s described as an 18 karat gold ring with 0.37 carats of diamonds and an 8 millimeter untreated Akoya pearl.

According to Page Six, New York-based Catbird is a favorite among big names such as Meghan Markle and Taylor Swift, as well as Stone.

Forbes rated Stone as the world’s highest paid actress in 2017, when she earned $26 million.

 

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