Jewelers Sticking With Pandora



Though Pandora announced on Aug. 2 that its
signature charms had experienced sales drops, many
jewelers are telling JCK there remains strong demand for the product.

“Our Pandora traffic is still good and strong,”
says Tony Cruz, manager of JWR Jewelers in Athens, Ga. “Yesterday, we had sales
all day long.”

William Sites, owner of Sites Jewelers in
Nashville, Tenn., says he hasn’t noticed a drop-off either.

“Sales have been good for us,” he says. “We get
new customers in all the time. It is still a big traffic driver.”

Pandora also still brings people in to Wetzel
& Truex Jewelers in Norfolk, Neb. “Once a Pandora fan, always a Pandora
fan,” says owner Marc Raders.

Still, he sees competitors making inroads. “The
whole concept is starting to get a bit diluted,” he says. “We are starting to
see people who used to come in with 100 percent Pandora beads and all of a
sudden they have other beads on their bracelet.”

He thinks the price increase may have had an
impact, but says the company also needs to freshen up its product mix.

“People may want a soccer ball, and if Pandora
doesn’t have it, they will go elsewhere,” he says. “They need to be in tune
with what the American pubic wants.”

Robert Smith, owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in
Chillicothe, Ohio, says that while Pandora is still his No. 1 brand, he has
noticed a drop-off.

“Our Pandora sales have been down for several
months,” he says. “I talked to a number of people in our part of the country
who seem to be saying Pandora sales are down. It seems to be exploding more in
the south right now.”

Smith says his area was one of the first to
embrace the product, and it may have run its course. “We have sold a ton of
Pandora over the last five years but I think you reach a saturation point,” he
says.

He agrees with company management, who blamed too
many price increases for the fall-off. “We’ve had a couple price increases and
every time the prices have gone up, sales have gone down,” he says.

But the price boosts haven’t scared people away
at Miami Lakes Jewelers in Miami Lakes, Fla. “I don’t notice the customer
saying anything about the price,” says owner Miguel Gonzalez. “Last time they
raised the prices, silver had doubled in price and they only raised it 10-15
percent. It was a modest increase.”

Gonzalez says his Panodra sales are up 100
percent over last year.

“We just got the new fall beads yesterday and
we’re doing fantastic with them,” he says. “I see just the opposite of what
reports are saying. Every month it gets better. Even during the worst months,
we’re so far ahead of last year with Pandora it’s not even funny.”