The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) has reported positive Christmas jewellery sales among its 163 retail members, with 64% of those surveyed stating that sales were the same or better in December 2016 compared to the same month of the previous year.
All CMJ members were invited to take part in the annual survey, which found that 38% of the group’s retailers reported improved year-on-year jewellery sales, with 26% reporting static sales and 36% of members finding overall sales down in December 2016 compared to 2015.
Charms and bracelets were the best-selling jewellery product for members. Retail members of the UK and Ireland’s largest buying group of jewellery and watches named Pandora and Nomination as their best-selling brands this Christmas, followed by Clogau and Hot Diamonds.
However, CMJ members reported a mixed bag of sales overall, with watches performing worse than jewellery across the board this Christmas. Some 60% of retailers of watches reported a worse performance than the previous December, with 18% reporting that sales were better and 22% stating that sales were the same year on year.
The best-selling watch brands for CMJ members were named as Bering and Citizen, with pre-owned watches also performing well.
Black Friday sales were also more popular than ever among CMJ members last year, with 53% of retailers surveyed holding some sort of Black Friday promotion in 2016.
On the whole, CMJ retail members reported a drop in footfall and a lower average spend than expected. Andrew Hirshman, director of Plymouth-based business Drakes, said: “We were slightly disappointed and surprised overall but nevertheless satisfied with our overall figures. I do think online had a big part to play and will continue to grow exponentially against bricks and mortar stores.”
WJ Sproule in Derry/Londonderry ran customer competitions both online and in store, including a successful Gold Bar competition, which ran for six weeks and engaged with more than 60,000 customers on social media. Director Nigel Sproule reported a slight increase in overall sales year on year, adding: “Footfall increased in November due to promotions, but at a cost of margin. Footfall was down in December, average spend also down. We had a feeling that customers held back, waiting for more promotions.”
However many of those who invested in direct marketing to customers saw their efforts rewarded. John Pass Jewellers in Crewe and Newcastle-under-Lyme distributed its own brand catalogue to its top 5,000 customers, as well as holding a Winter Wonderland event, brand-hosted dinners and supplier visits with customers. Director John Pass said: “At John Pass we had a very pleasing result from our Christmas trading figures. It was nothing less than the team deserved – we invested so much effort into our CRM campaign this year that ‘the numbers’ just had to happen… And they did!”
CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton commented: “Overall, these survey results show the CMJ retailers that invested in proactive customer promotion saw the strongest performance at Christmas. Our survey results clearly show the benefits of belonging to a group such as the CMJ, which provides marketing support and assistance in choosing the right products to invest in without retailers losing any of their independence as a business.”
Image: Willie Hamilton, CMJ chief executive