XMAS Q&A: Dominic Gommersall, Lumbers

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Owner of Leicester jeweller gives his thoughts on Christmas 2011.

Dominic Gommersall, the owner of Leicester jeweller Lumbers who was named as a Ti Sento Retail Star in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2011, takes time out to give his thoughts on festive trading in 2011. Read on to find out how the Bank of England has dulled his optimism, why Breguet is a suprise comeback winner and his plans for a January sale. 

PJ: Do you expect festive sales to be up, down or level with last year?
DG: I expect Christmas to be very much in line with last year. The year to date has traded well above last year and currently we are some 20% up. But I think the Bank of England’s comments and the media hype in trying to get a second recession is deafening and lowers my expectation for December.

PJ: Are there any particular products or brands that you are pushing this year, or that you expect to sell well above others this year?
DG: Our most improved brand this year has been Breguet where we have experienced a number of high end sales. I think the top end consumers are getting more and more picky and want even higher exclusivity. This can be offered by a brand similar to Breguet that only has four retail outlets across the country rather than more commercial and higher volume top end brands like Patek Philippe and others. We are therefore concentrating on this exclusivity. However our main concentration, as normal, will be our own branded jewellery where we have complete control of prices and margins.

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PJ: Which price points do you expect to perform the best this year?
DG: Price points have become blurred as we have all experienced huge price increases across all our products to the like that I have never experienced before. Swiss watch brands have been especially harsh with increase after increase. Therefore price point expectation is difficult. Again, we have tried to distance ourselves from our local competitors by having a far greater choice for the top end consumer spending £10,000 to £100,000.

PJ: When do you expect the festive peak to occur – has it already happened, or are you expecting a last-minute rush?
DG: I don’t expect this Christmas to be any different in timings. To me each week in December is double the previous week with the first week being equal to three weeks of mid-year trade. So hopefully it certainly hasn’t happened yet – and hopefully those last minute purchases will come in to make the year a good one.

PJ: Will you be holding a January sale?
DG: We now hold an annual January sale. It is very limited in products with little to cause distress to those that have paid full price in December. It will be repeated again post Christmas.

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