Jewelers Term Valentine’s Day “Decent”

Jewelers generally reported okay sales for Valentine’s Day—with low price-point items such beads and silver, as well as diamond basics like engagement rings and studs, cited as particularly strong sellers.

But sales didn’t rise across the board, a sign that the economy still has challenges ahead.

Still, a few proclaimed this holiday one for the books.

At Woodard’s Diamond and Design in Tullahoma, Tenn., owner Jim Woodard is smiling that the five days before Valentine’s Day were “probably the best five days we ever had.”

“Our customers are feeling better,” he says. “I feel the state of Tennessee hasn’t had the dramatic changes other parts of the country have. For the last few months there has been steady growth.”

Valentine’s Day sales were also “significantly” up at Occasions Fine Jewelry in Midland, Texas.

“We sold a large single piece and that helped,” says floor manger Todd Huckabah. “But we still probably been up anyway”

Huckabah singles out Pandora, diamond studs, and a sterling silver pendant the store promoted.

“West Texas is probably an anomaly,” he says. “We are in the Energy Belt and business has been really strong for us for the last two years. I think that around here at least the worm has turned and we are doing well.”

Sales were also “pretty good” at Byron’s Jewelry in Searcy, Ark., reports jeweler Hawkins Minner.

“We sold diamonds, pendants were pretty popular, and we sold a handful of rings,” he says.

He thinks the consumer mood has improved, but “it’s tax time, and that always helps.”

A Pandora promotion helped boost sales at Shuler’s Jewelers in Norristown, Pa.

“Things seemed to be busy,” says owner Howard Zenker. “This year we saw a lot more men who work in the trades coming in, and they were very upbeat and willing to spend. That was a change from recent years.”??

His store sold mostly basics—like diamond studs and pearls—rather than “high fashion items.”

It was also a heavy Pandora holiday for Continental Jewelers, Wilmington, Del.

“People seem to be in a really good place mentally this year,” says owner Chrysa Cohen. “Traffic was heavy. Customers were really excited to browse and buy.”

She notes that clients seemed more open to “suggestive selling” and add-on purchases.

“One of our customers came in for jewelry repair and came out with a pair of 14 karat gold earrings for his wife,” she says. “Another customer came in for jewelry service, fell in love with a ring in our estate collection, so one of our salespeople let her husband know that she’d been eyeing it, and he came right in and bought it.”

Valentine’s Day sales went very well for the Polished Edge Fine Jewelry, a two-store Missouri chain, but that comes after one of the worst Januaries in its history.

“It was really amazing,” says owner Kevin Weaver. “Ever since 2008, it’s been real inconsistent, really up one month, then down another, for no real reason.”

Overall, his stores sold a lot of Chamilia beads, and received a boost from a Groupon engagement ring promotion.

On the negative side, Frank Milano, owner of Frank Milano Jewelers in Milltown, N.J., says his holiday was “down.”

“Valentine’s Day was nothing, but for the last couple of years it hasn’t been what it used to be,” he says.

And Troy Wilson, owner of Trinity Jewelers in Parkville, Mo., found business “way off.”

“It doesn’t seem like people were in a buying mood at all,” he says. “I have some pretty loyal customers and even they were saying times were hard. The last three months of last year and the first few months of this year were the worst I have ever seen.”

He found a lot of customers would find an item at his store, and then buy it online.

“Then they come here and ask me if they get a good deal,” he laments.

(Additional reporting by Hailey Reissman and Stephanie Schaefer)

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