Retailers tout jewelry as way to add sparkle to challenging year

The Tiffany & Co. gift box looked in a shop window.

Alex Tai SOPA Images | Lighterket | Getty Images

Many Americans are spending their days working from home in leggings and casualwear during the coronavirus epidemic. They have few, if any, party or gathering where they dress – never showing a shiny bracelet or a new necklace.

Companies including Signet Jewelers, Tiffany & Co. and Kendra Scott will look to cross those empty social calendars this holiday season and have a romantic gesture, a zoom accessory or a way to add sparkle to a very challenging year.

“It’s going up to retailers to really cohabit and recognize the gift that jewelry is a gift that’s going to soothe all the pain we endure,” said Marshall Cohen, Senior Retailer NPD Group. “Feel-good. Part of that equation is ‘I love you’. It has to be a bigger part now than before.”

During the epidemic, Signet CEO Gina Drosos said customers demanded more personalized gifts at their stores, including Zales. Some have carved rings or other ornaments with messages about how the epidemic has strengthened their love.

Sine jewelers

Jewelry sales have been one of the hardest hit categories during the epidemic. According to data from the NPD Group, jewelry sales declined by 30% year-on-year from March to October. They have recovered somewhat over the past few months, market researcher data show, with sales flat in August, October and November.

A recent change

Beth Goldstein, an industry analyst for fashion, footwear and accessories at NPD, said the holidays could give jewelers a chance to get back on track. According to NPD’s historical data, about 30% of annual jewelry sales are generally in November and December.

She predicted that sales would improve during the holidays, with a drop in the middle single digits to lower double digits.

Goldstein said that some people may see the jewelry as a refreshing change because they are soaked with their sweat. Twenty-four percent of consumers said they were getting ready for events such as work, special occasions and social events, according to an NPD poll of nearly 1,000 people across the US in September.

In addition, she said, a glittering bauble can be seen as an investment that they can use well for future social celebrations and “tap into the things that consumers especially vacation.” Are missing around time. “

Cohen said shoppers may also see jewelry as an alternative to experiential gifts, which have fallen from favor because people can’t go to Broadway shows or even spend a day at the spa.

This holiday season, one of Zales and Kay’s collections, “Everything You Are,” features five unique diamonds to celebrate the many facets of a woman.

Sine jewelers

Tapping into epidemic-fueled romance

Over 300 employees are now trained as virtual jewelery consultants in Signet Jewelery ‘retail chains, including Jayate, KA Jewelers and Zales. They can help those customers pick up engagement rings or guide spouses toward a special gift without having to step into the store.

This holiday season, Signet CEO Gina Drosos said the retailer will serve customers in new ways and hopes to sell more “gifts that have a story.” She said that during the epidemic, customers have demanded more personal gifts and conveyed messages about jewelry that show how the epidemic has strengthened their love for a spouse or partner.

She pointed to a collection in Zales and K this holiday season, “Everything You Are,” which features five unique diamonds to celebrate the many facets of a woman. He said that the message may resonate when women have to struggle to work from home to help school-going children.

He said the company hopes to have an epidemic-fueled romance for sale as well. According to the company’s internal research, the couple have moved together and are growing closer during the epidemic – and may lead to more engagement.

She said that many sales associates have held up and humiliated her during more than a dozen weddings or during an epidemic in a candid pickup line.

Signet’s same-store sales declined 31.3% in the second quarter, roughly in line with industry trends, but Drosos said sales had strengthened again and stores have reopened and more people have turned to jewelry. Shopping online. The company will report its third quarter earnings next week.

It said its capacity to fulfill e-commerce orders has increased five-fold compared to last year. “We want the company to be able to provide that wonderful, meaningful, romantic gift for this holiday season”.

On Tuesday, Tiffany reported that business was underway again, as sales in China rose 70% and home sales rose in the third quarter. The American jeweler, which is being bought by French luxury giant LVMH, said it would enter the gifting season on strong footings.

Tiffany CEO Alessandro Bogliolo said in a news release that the recent quarter “speaks volumes about the lasting strength of the Tiffany brand and gives us confidence as we enter the critical holiday season.”

Kendra Scott is planning more online shopping this holiday season, but said it expects customers to look for gifts like its Vivian Drop earrings.

Kendra Scott

‘Zoomable jewelry’

At Kendra Scott, store employees have had to get creative to overcome the epidemic-related challenges. The Austin, Texas-based jeweler is known for its dangerous earrings and statement jewelry. It has more than 100 stores and its jewelry is sold by boutiques and major department stores, including Bloomingdale, owned by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Massey.

Every holiday season, customers usually line up outside their store and employees hand out champagne and cookies. President Tom Nolan said that this year, the line has become longer due to the limit of store capacity.

Along with cleaning up shops, Nolan said employees have tried to put an epidemic-friendly spin on customer experience. They have been handed a “Golden Ticket” for free jewelry and the musicians performed outside the shops. To keep sales running, curbside pickup and pre-box popular items have been added to stores.

Nolan said Kendra Scott has seen a substantial increase in online sales and expects online purchases to surpass brick-and-mortar sales this year. He declined to provide revenue figures for the privately held company, but said comparable sales are higher year-over-year despite being temporarily shuttered.

He said the retailer has benefited from people with more discretionary income because they spend less in other areas, such as travel. Some have spent slightly more on their purchases, such as upgrading demi-fine jewelry, which combines gold- or silver-plated jewelry with semi-precious stones, or pay more to customize the bracelet .

And, he said, people still want to wear earrings and necklaces, even if they have no place to go.

“Even in the virtual world in which we are living, people are still making a lot of zoom calls and women and men are still wearing jewelry and are dressed from the waist down when they are on a zoom call,” They said. . “It has served us well.”

In the signet, Drosos said he is surprised by the jump in earrings and pendants sales as people look for “zoom-worthy jewelry” to express themselves in “that little box on screen”.

She said customers preferred colored stones more, including an engagement ring.

“It’s just been a bit of a dark time, and it’s one of the ways that customers are bringing color and life and light back into their lives,” she said.

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