Slow but steady Mother’s Day sales

Jewelry store sales leading up to Mother’s Day have been slow but steady, say jewelers interviewed during the weeks prior to May 13. Chat on the Internet-based Independent Jewelers Organization discussion channel reveals slow sales among members nationwide, according to James Englehorn, owner, Jack Lewis Fine Jewelry, Bloomington, Ill., an IJO member.

Jewelers interviewed by JCK approached Mother’s Day with cautious optimism. For example, Susan Snider, owner, Reimer Jewelers, Oshkosh, Wis., anticipated slow spring sales so she didn’t stock much new inventory. But overall, most jewelers interviewed expect sales to inch slightly ahead of last year’s season. “We’re hopeful of a 10% gain, but we’re realistically expecting a 5% increase over last year’s sales,” says Bill Selig, owner, Bill Selig Jewelers, Simsbury, Conn.

Hot-selling items this year include bracelets-charm and bangle-as well as pins, pendants, and diamond stud earrings. Excluded from this year’s hot-sellers is the Mother’s ring. “People are looking for something more imaginative [than Mother’s rings], such as Mother’s bracelets, alternating unusual stones such as alexandrite and moonstone with diamonds,” according to Selig. Colored gemstones set in pins and pendants-hot styles include hearts and mother-and-child forms-are also popular alternatives to Mother’s rings. This year’s jewelry is smaller and more affordable than the Tahitian pearls, platinum, and diamonds that were in vogue for Mother’s Day in 2000.

It’s human nature to procrastinate about gift buying, say jewelers. Most maintain that their customers are “last-minute shoppers.” Some jewelers, such as Snider, even beefed up on last-minute radio and TV ads to remind customers to get gifts for Moms. Ed Yonan, owner, Yonan’s Fine Jewelry & Timepieces, Turlock, Calif., is having a terrific season. His Mother’s Day sales so far indicate a still-strong economy. But most retailers say sales are coming along nicely, and they’re hopeful that they’ll perk up even more on May 11 and 12.