Economic austerity and fierce online competition dampen sales growth.
The challenging economy coupled with a dramatic increase in online competition has snuffed out growth at Steffans.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading independent jewellery web sites.
Sales during the current Christmas trading season are broadly flat on the same period last year, Steff Sutter, managing director for Steffans told Professional Jeweller exclusively.
Online sales of Stephen Webster are among brands that are bucking the trend, with sales in the UK and around the world surging via the Steffans web site.
While online sales are flat, retail sales through the two Steffans stores in Northampton and Market Harborough are up around 10%, despite the company losing some sales to a branded Pandora franchise store opened by TH Baker in the Grosvenor Centre shopping mall in September.
Sutter says that this Christmas’s hottest brand is Tresor Paris, which is increasing footfall thanks to the publicity the crystal jewellery is enjoying from shows like The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea. “It is obvious a lot of girls are sending their boyfriends into the shops to get the bracelets for Christmas,” he reveals.
Steffan’s best selling Tresor Paris bracelet is retailing for £145, and the brand’s lowest priced earrings are also flying out off the shelf.
Further up the luxury scale, Steffans is reporting brisk sales in pre-owned watches, a phenomenon Sutter puts down to the way people are responding to the austere economic conditions. “People don’t want to be seen splashing out on something brand new, but a classic pre-owned Rolex looks like something that has been treasured for years,” he suggests.