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Pandora Acquiring Store Network in 2 Countries

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The company wants to “increase control of our brand.”

Pandora announced that it is acquiring Gielen Trading’s Pandora store network in Belgium and Luxembourg. 

The transaction is set to take place on June 30, 2017, the day that Gielen Trading’s distribution rights to Pandora jewelry in the two countries expire.

Pandora will pay a total amount of 14 million euros (US $14.61 million) to Gielen Trading related to the agreement, of which around 2 million euros (US $2.09 million) is related to inventory. In 2015, the acquired Pandora stores and the existing wholesale network in Belgium and Luxembourg generated revenue of about 21 million euros (US $21.92 million).

With the agreement, the company will add to its retail chain 13 Pandora-owned concept stores and three shop-in-shops located in the two countries. In total, Pandora jewelry is currently available in 25 concept stores, 29 shop-in-shops and around 100 multibranded stores in Belgium and Luxembourg.

David Allen, president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Pandora, said in a press release: “Gaining control of the distribution of Pandora jewellery in already established markets is an integrated part of our strategy to increase control of our brand. Gielen Trading has done a tremendous job in building the Pandora brand as well as a sustainable branded network in Belgium and Luxembourg, and we will now continue the journey to establish Pandora as the most loved jewellery brand in these countries.”

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Major Online Jewelry Brand Opens Brick-and-Mortar Store

It will provide ‘an immersive gallery experience.’

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Online diamond bridal jewelry retailer JamesAllen.com has opened a brick-and-mortar location in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC.

The store will allow customers to “experience the JamesAllen.com brand in an immersive gallery experience in a physical environment enhanced by the brand’s technology-forward approach to shopping,” according to a press release.

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JamesAllen.com was acquired last year by Signet Jewelers in a $328 million deal.

“We’re excited to continue executing Signet’s Customer-First OmniChannel strategy with this new shopping experience from JamesAllen.com, integrating both our digital and physical retail platforms,” said Virginia C. Drosos, Chief Executive Officer at Signet Jewelers. “The world-class innovation and technology at the core of JamesAllen.com’s business will come to life in the new location, redefining the jewelry shopping experience for our customers.”

The concept store will feature:

Virtual Reality. Customers “can learn about the 4Cs and how to make the best decision when buying diamonds in an immersive way, using a VR headset while viewing a 3D video with narration,” according to the company.

Coffee Bar with “iGrade.” Enjoy coffee while using “patented tablet-based technology that enables customers to browse and grade diamond quality online for peer-to-peer preference comparisons.”

Ring Try-On Photo Booth. Customers can take pictures with diamond rings and upload the images to their social channels, with added visual elements including GIFs and animation, for instant feedback from family and friends.

Self-Service Diamond Display Table. It’s a 10-foot table display featuring best-selling engagement rings, giving customers instant access to diamond rings without needing a key or associate.

The company adds: “As a demonstration of JamesAllen.com’s OmniChannel strategy, customer service representatives at the store will also be available to assist customers through online channels. For example, when employees at the Georgetown location are not assisting customers in-person, they will continue to provide service to customers online, from the same Georgetown location.”

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FedEx Worker Pawned $36,000 of Jewelry Instead of Delivering It, Police Say

He allegedly received $6,000 for the merchandise.

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A Cincinnati man who worked for FedEx is accused of stealing jewelry rather than delivering it.

Terry Hagood was charged with two counts of theft and has pleaded not guilty to both, WKRC-TV reports.

The jewelry in question, worth $36,000 in two shipments, was bound for Quality Gold, police say.

Instead of delivering it, Hagwood allegedly took the jewelry to Queen City Pawn.

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Authorities say he received $6,000 for the merchandise. The crimes are alleged to have taken place in September.

Bond for Hagwood was set at $2,000. He was being held in Hamilton County, OH.

According to WXIX-TV, it was a FedEx corporate security specialist who filed a police report accusing Hagwood of theft.

Read more at the WKRC-TV

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Jewelers Report Grimmer Holiday Mood

Many are lowering their sales expectations, INSTORE found in its second 2018 Holiday Season Mini Survey.

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THE MOOD OF JEWELERS turned decidedly grimmer in the second week of December, with store owners and managers sharply lowering their expectations for the 2018 holiday season. More than one in three, or 34 percent, of respondents to our second holiday mini survey described the season so far as “disappointing” or “dismal,” up from just 20 percent who were that negative in our first survey taken on Dec. 6.

The proportion of jewelers doing “better than expected” or having a “terrific” season also shrank, from 27 percent to 21 percent. The rest said sales had so far been in line with expectations.

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“I think Trump’s tariffs causing the stock market to crash, as well as the threat of recession, is hurting us. Internet sales are also becoming more of a factor,” said Michael Rumanoff of Rumanoff’s Fine Jewelry and Design, Hamden, CT.

Yet, many jewelers remain hopeful for a strong finish to the season, similar to what happened last year, with some noting that their early sales had been dominated by self-purchasers as opposed to bigger-spending gift-buyers.

“I think it’s going to be a late buying year. We’ve had some nice sales but there’s no sense of urgency yet,” said Marc Majors, owner of Sam L. Majors, a fifth-generation jeweler in Midland, TX.

HOW DO YOU RATE YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON SO FAR?

Meanwhile, some jewelers are already plotting adjustments to their strategy in 2019, including changes to their marketing and inventory.

“Already wish I’d done a little different marketing,” said Julee Johnson, owner of Julee’s Jewelry in Mankato, MN. “But I know what to change in the coming year. Facebook can be good, but don’t rely only on it. We use it along with radio and direct mail, but our tracking shows it’s not the only answer.”

Mark Snyder, owner of Snyder Jewelers in Weymouth, MA, said his holiday season had been hectic and he was expecting to top his historical numbers. But he noted his customers’ focus was clearly on custom-designed jewelry. “We will definitely consider carrying less inventory next year. People simply want custom (at least 15-20 days out). It’s not like our inventory mix is wrong. People come through the door with a custom design in mind and their own gemstones. They aren’t looking and NOT seeing what they want, because they aren’t looking at all.”

HOW IS CUSTOMER TRAFFIC COMPARED TO LAST YEAR?

In addition to the strong custom design trend, which was reported across the country, the other pattern being noted was rising average tickets but falling traffic. Almost half, or 46 percent, of survey respondents reported fewer customers were coming in their doors compared with the 2017 season, while 35 percent said their average ticket was up and a further 46 percent said it had held steady.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR AVERAGE SALE SO FAR THIS HOLIDAY PERIOD?

Diamond studs, pendants, engagement rings, and other high-end items led the way.

“Diamond anything,” was how Kim Hatchell, manager of Galloway & Moseley in Sumter, SC, described her best sellers.

HOW IS YOUR AVERAGE TICKET COMPARED TO LAST YEAR?

INSTORE’s 2018 Holiday Season Mini Survey No. 2 was sent to the Brain Squad on Monday and answered by more than 120 jewelers across North America. We will send a third installment after the coming weekend. If you’d like to become a member of the Brain Squad, and get access to all the respondent data, please sign up HERE.

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