DAN RIVER REGION JEWELERS EXPECT INCREASED SALES
Local jewelry stores are hoping for a busy shopping weekend for Valentine’s Day gifts after coming off a strong Christmas season.
Danville jewelers say February and Valentine’s is their second largest selling season.
This year, the average consumer is expected to spend 11 percent more than last year, according to a National Retail Federation survey. More than 17 percent of those surveyed planned on buying jewelry, up from last year’s 15.5 percent.
Local retailers don’t anticipate the individual consumer will spend more, but do expect more consumers to enter stores to join in on the shopping. They’ll know more this weekend and on Monday, as they say men typically wait till the last minute to shop for Valentine’s Day.
“I anticipate this year being exceptionally good,” said Robert Bragg, owner, master goldsmith and designer of Commonwealth Silver & Goldsmiths at 601 Main St. in Danville.
Last year was OK, but not as great as it was back in 2006 before the loss of jobs and economic recession, he said. This year, based on Christmas sales, Bragg hopes for a 50 to 75 percent increase in sales over last February.
“Our business has experienced a tremendous renaissance in the last year and a half,” Bragg said.
Bragg believes people got tired of not celebrating in the recession. Now, buyer willingness is ramped up, especially when buyers can find superior products at affordable prices, he said.
Additionally, consumers will shop where there is tremendous customer service, Bragg added.
Because of the high price of gold, silver is the trend. Commonwealth Silver & Goldsmiths stocked up and offers the classic Valentine’s Day jewelry with hearts.
Based on Christmas sales, Ben David Jewelers is hoping for at least a 10 percent increase in sales over last year, said co-owner Mark David.
The hottest item right now is Pandora jewelry where shoppers can personalize pieces by picking handmade beads, he said. Customers buy silver more for fashion jewelry, like Pandora, but still buy the gold for engagement rings and wedding bands, David added.
Ben David Jewelers houses 400 engagement rings.
“A lot of people get engaged on Valentine’s Day,” David said.
And, because people also like getting married on Valentine’s Day, the store is again, for the fourth year, the free venue for weddings Monday.
“We do it because it’s fun and some people want to get married on Valentine’s Day and we want to share in their happiness,” David said. “It’s just the right thing to do in the community.”
Silver Enchantments has already sold more jewelry this year than last year, said owner Debbie Boyd. She attributes that to remodeling the store. Additionally, look-alikes of the late Princess Diana’s engagement ring, which Prince William gave to Kate Middleton when he proposed, have sold well, she said.
Piney Forest Jewelry is also expecting about a 10 percent increase in sales over last year, said Paul Reynolds, who owns the store with his wife Margaret.
Last year was also better than 2009, but it’s still far from where it was when the store was “swamped” around special occasions, he said. He said online sales, giving electronics instead and job loss in the community hurt the jewelry business.
“It’s just not like it used to be,” Reynolds said.
Yet, he expects more people will come in to shop this year as the economy turns around. February is also a good sales month because of people getting their tax refunds, he added.
The store sells well anything heart-shaped, sterling silver and both men’s and women’s watches, Reynolds said.
“We’re fairly optimistic,” he said.
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