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To Hold a Sale or Not to Hold a Sale and More Existential Questions for March

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Should we have an annual “summer sale” when we are not a sale-oriented store? 

We understand your fear both in terms of your store’s image and the risk of training customers to expect sales. But an annual sale clearly signposted as an infrequent event is a good opportunity to move dated merchandise that is costing you money to keep in your cases, at a time when things are usually slow (see our lead story in this issue). It’s also undeniable that sales work. Our Big Surveys have repeatedly shown that sales promotions are by far the most effective way to get people in the store and to move goods. It may help to reframe the way you think of markdowns. Rather than view them as losses, consider them as lessons: Your customers are telling you what they don’t like. And the cash you generate will allow you to get lines in that your customers have said they do like.


Can you give me information about malls so I can compare data like sales per square foot, base rent and operating costs?

It’s true that malls in general have struggled the last few years, but at the top end, they are still raking in the dollars. According to Green Street’s rankings, there are three dozen U.S. malls rated “A++” and about 270 high-performing malls with A ratings with sales around the $1,000 per square foot mark. The rest, more than 700 malls, have lower grades, many of which are struggling to attract consumers and may be generating sales of only $250 per square foot.

Factors to consider when researching malls:

  • Size and breadth makes malls a destination for shoppers and help them compete with the variety of products offered online. The bigger the mall, the better.
  • Louis Vuitton, Prada and other luxury brands attract higher-spending customers, boosting a mall’s sales per square foot. According to Green Street, an Apple store leads to a 13 percent bump in a mall’s sales per square foot.
  • An anchor like Neiman Marcus or Bloomingdale’s is generally a good sign. A Sears, J.C. Penney or Kohl’s store can possibly be a sign of trouble because a retailer that is closing locations can trigger contract clauses that let other tenants out of their leases, creating a downward “death spiral.”

What do you say when someone asks about the competition? 

Stay positive, or be non-committal (“We actually don’t consider them competitors, as we operate in a different part of the market”). Just don’t bad-mouth them, even if they’ve been less than nice about you. Customers will think less of you if you do. 


Where can I find a jewelry event guru?

Kate Peterson suggests you look beyond the jewelry industry. “There’s an entire industry out there built around party planning and logistics. My best recommendation is to look there rather than within our industry. If you partner with the right individual or company, you can find someone who is closer to the customer’s mindset while being creative in concept development and organized in execution,” she says.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of INSTORE.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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