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Holiday Season Mini Survey

Sales Bounce Back in Run-In to Christmas

Four out of 10 jewelers say season has been better than expected.

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AFTER A SLOW start to the holidays, many jewelers reported a jump in sales in the last week, bringing some much-needed seasonal cheer and the prospect of a better-than-expected end to 2023.

“Last survey I said sales were down, the next day, we did half a month’s sales in one day,” reported Jo Goralski, owner of The Jewelry Mechanic in Oconomowoc, WI.

Added Stacey Gelmici-Saunders, owner of Gelmici Jewellers in Edson, AB: “Never prayed and prepped so much! You can do the work but for this industry, you are always praying right up to the last second.”

Overall, 40% of the jewelers who responded to our second 2023 INSTORE Holiday Season Mini Survey said that with just three days left until Christmas, their season had been surprisingly strong or outright “terrific.” That compared to 34% who said it had been “disappointing” or “dismal”.

Note that many jewelers had come into the season with subdued expectations, and 39% said holiday sales were down on last year’s performance, compared to 26% who said they were better.

Sales Bounce Back in Run-In to Christmas
Sales Bounce Back in Run-In to Christmas

Jewelers attributed the fluid sales season to a number of factors ranging from global and domestic uncertainty and renewed competition from other luxury categories such as travel to inflation and “weird” weather — “No snow in Minnesota so people don’t realize Christmas is in a few days,” said Loann Stokes if Stokes Jewelry in Stillwater, MN.

Nearly half of the jewelers in the survey reported that their in-store traffic was down from last year, while only 22% said it was up. That loss of traffic was offset to a degree by a higher average sale, with 36% of the respondents saying their typical ticket was up over last year vs 20% who said it was down. Thirty-eight percent of the jewelers reported an average ticket of more than $1,000.

“Fewer tire-kickers. Everyone who comes in is on a mission to buy. What a pleasure!” said Jillian Hornik, owner of Jae’s Jewelers in Coral Gables, FL.

Sales Bounce Back in Run-In to Christmas
Sales Bounce Back in Run-In to Christmas

The big sellers continued to be lab-grown diamonds and seasonal favorites like diamond stud earrings.

With a 2023 holiday season inching toward a close, our Brain Squad members were urging each other to stay upbeat as they headed into what could be the three biggest sales day of the year.

“Even with all the negative media outlooks for the retail sector, ‘love’ still outshines a sour economy. I say shoot for the stars, be positive and lead your sales team with a glass half-full attitude, you will be fine,” urged Bill Longnecker of Longnecker Jewelry in McCook, NE.

Responses to the second 2023 Holiday Season survey were collected on Dec 21. A total of 88 jewelry store owners or managers from across North America responded to the online survey. We wish them and all our readers a Merry Christmas and a great last few days of selling! – The INSTORE Team.

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Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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