Fine purchases down but lovers snapped up silver fashion brands.
Jewellery retailers in the UK reported a satisfactory sales peak in the days before Valentine’s Day on February 14th as shoppers waited until the last minute before buying jewellery as gifts for their loved ones.
Rather than fine jewellery, it was the silver end of the market that attracted Valentine’s spend.
Prestons of Bolton reported the usual annual Valentine’s spike in sales of its engagement rings but said that it was its newly installed Pandora sales floor that really led the charge. The retailer’s Pandora area only opened in November so the retailer has no comparables to make against sales from previous years, but store manager Sue Hurst said that the offer “generated significant footfall and sales”.
Hurst said that the most popular ranges within the Pandora offer proved to be its Heart Beads and pink and red Murano beads. Average price point for Valentine’s Day shoppers sat at the £50 mark but Hurst said that Prestons achieved a significant percentage of upsell by offering a free prize draw to shoppers spending £100 or more in store.
Rivoli Jewellers in Jersey noted a similar spike in its branded silver jewellery sales as well as an uplift at its franchised Swarovski store. Total sales at the main Rivoli business were flat, but in the face of a straightened economic climate managing director David Speed said that he was pleased with the performance. “We had hoped for an increase but sales were level with 2011 which, considering the ongoing economic problems, we were happy with,” he added.
Jewellery at the upper end of Rivoli’s offer still sold to Valentine’s shoppers but Speed said that the store did not benefit from “the usual flurry of engagement ring sales” and that diamond jewellery sales were slower than the norm.
The best performing ranges over the period for Rivoli were silver designs from Kit Heath, Hot Diamonds and Trollbeads. Speed added that Nomination also sold well and that Lalique “proved to be an expected winner” for both jewellery and giftware. “The consumer in Jersey was definitely cost conscious but romance was still alive and people were still buying gifts for their partners.”
Tateossian registered a Valentine’s sales spike at all of its own-brand stores with “a definite increase on last year”. Sales of men’s jewellery were strong over Valentine’s at the its retail stores with its Italian leather bracelets proving to be a top seller.
Jewellery also proved popular at John Lewis over the Valentine’s period with jewellery buyer Anna Berry documenting a decent uplift, albeit concentrated into the final two days, February 13th and 14th. She said: “We did well on key gifting items at both entry and mid to premium price points. Hearts as usual and friendship bracelets were driving it and key brands performed well, as did own label.”
Baroque in Brighton registered a slight increase in sales led by the Valentine’s period. To tempt shoppers to choose jewellery as their love token, the store created a range of jewellery especially for Valentine’s Day – a limited collection of silver jewellery accented with rose gold vermeil and rubies that it said proved to be popular with customers. Baroque owner Pippa Knowles said: “So far we have had a very good February and it’s looking to be better than last year already.”
Online jewellery retailer Boticca conducted a survey of its global customer base and found that male shoppers in the UK are the fourth highest spenders on Valentine’s Day gifts. According to the data (see left) UK men spend an average of £118 on a gift for their loved ones to celebrate February 14th, which was only beaten by the Far East at £173, Spain at £151 and France at £120.
The survey of Boticca customers also found that the most popular gift for Valentine’s Day was earrings, with 31% of those asked saying that this is what they would buy. This was followed by bracelets at 26%, necklaces at 21%, rings at 14%, clutch bags at 5% and scarves at 3%.
While jewellery is obviously high on the wish list of shoppers at Boticca, which sells fashion accessories as well as jewellery, 86% of men surveyed said that they would be buying non-committal pieces of jewellery rather than engagement rings.