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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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