Jewellers set for bumper Valentine’s trading

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Shoppers looking for extra value could shun flowers for jewellery

Jewellery retailers could be set for a bumper trading this Valentine’s Day weekend as gift shoppers look for extra value.

UK Shoppers will spend £1.6bn on Valentine’s Day this year, according to forecasts by retail analyst Planet Retail – up 2.4% on last year’s spending.

Rather than shy away from the shops on Valentine’s Day, which is seen by consumers as a must-buy occasion, shoppers on tighter budgets will be looking for extra value in gifts. MHE Retail chief executive George Wallis said that jewellery retailers could benefit from this savvy attitude as Valentine’s shoppers shun traditional gifts such as flowers, which are usually inflated in price in the run up to February 14.

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Wallis said: “Obviously there is the backdrop of the recession but there are some points of the year that are must-have purchases, such as Valentine’s Day. I think it will be a very strong trading period.

“People may be looking for more value so the traditional products that are leveraged up in price [such as flowers] may struggle. Chocolate, jewellery and lingerie will do better than flowers.”

Retail spend is also expected to be boosted by Valentine’s Day falling at the end of the weekend, allowing extra shopping time for last-minute buyers. Signet has opened two pop-up shops in London train stations in the last few days before Valentine’s Day to cash in on this demographic.

Signet marketing director Colin Wagstaffe said: " We know that men want to buy Valentine’s gifts and they tend to purchase these at the last minute which can be a stressful experience.”

Multiple retailer Azendi has put on extra staff at its stores this weekend in anticipation of an influx of Valentine’s Day shoppers. Azendi managing director Ian Jones said: “I expect Saturday to be very busy as it’s Saturday and the day before Valentine’s, so that’s got to be strong. Flowers are good, but I think people are buying into the idea of jewellery for Valentine’s.”

Azendi has been promoting Valentine’s Day heavily with a multi-faceted campaign that has included national advertising in The Times and Grazia as well as sending newsletters to its shoppers and promoting the event on its website.

Wallis believes that jewellery retailers are helping to boost sales around special occasions by effective promotion that could sway shoppers to pick jewellery over other gifts. He said: “It’s part of a drift towards more emphasis on these things; Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Easter. Jewellers are becoming better at promoting themselves with things such as pop-up stores.”

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