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Chris Burslem

Chris Burslem

Chris Burslem is the group managing editor of INSTORE. He loves it when good ideas triumph.

The Middle Cannot Hold

Post: 7 February 2014

A story from last Sunday’s New York Times carried the headline: “The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World.” It could as easily have said, “Just Ask Jewelers.”

When the Passion Dies

Post: 31 January 2014

When we ask jewelers what they’ve learned from their time in the business, one of the more frequent responses we get is to be grateful for what you have. And in the jewelry industry there is plenty to be thankful for – sharing in people’s good times, working with beautiful materials, and the chance to make a good living.

Invest in your people, they are your most important asset. Paul James had always believed in this adage of business and it had served him well in his two decades as a jewelry-store owner.

21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, Jeffrey Gitomer's latest book on the fundamentals of the sales process, updates the ideas and good sales-floor practices that he has advocated for the last 30 years. While some of the RULES of sales may have changed in recent years, Gitomer argues, the LAWS remain the same. Learn them and sales will become easier and more rewarding. Break them, and you'll be fighting on price.

Amid a mid-December slump, when many jewelers were reporting that foot traffic in their stores had worryingly dried up, the outlook for the season seemed to be as dire as the freezing weather that was keeping so many shoppers at home.

While for just about everyone else — consumers, the retail majors, online merchants — the holiday shopping season seems to get longer every year, for independent jewelers it seems to shrink ever further into the heart of winter. The results from our final mini-survey of the 2013 holidays suggest the last couple of days before Christmas are now often making the difference between a great season and a poor one.

OK, this is a little more encouraging. After three weeks during which we watched jewelers’ expectations for the season steadily sink, sales perked up in the last week.

The Big Chill, continues, both outside and inside the walls of independent jewelers, with more and more store-owners reporting that the 2013 holiday season is shaping up as a disappointing one.

After an encouraging start , independent jewelers are reporting that the 2013 holiday season has chilled along with the weather in the last week. More store owners are saying their average ticket is down compared to last year, more are seeing fewer customers in their store compared to 2013 and more are describing this holiday season as either “dismal” (7% versus 4% last week) or “disappointing” (26% compared with 24% last week).

In contrast to the disappointing start to the holidays reported by most retailers, independent jewelers appear to have enjoyed a surprisingly solid opening weekend, according to our first 2013 Holiday Season Brain Squad survey.

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