NEW YORK -- Regardless of the tough economy, fine jewelry is one of the hottest things going right now for several major specialty retailers. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue each recorded double-digit increases in fine jewelry...
NEW YORK -- Regardless of the tough economy, fine jewelry is one of the hottest things going right now for several major specialty retailers. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue each recorded double-digit increases in fine jewelry over the holidays.
These stores already attract an affluent audience, and they have found fine jewelry to be a natural area for expansion, especially since the category itself has become more designer-conscious.
To keep this momentum going through this year, these retailers are planning more of the same tactics they used to draw Christmas shoppers -- in-store events and aggressive advertising.
Tim Braun, precious jewelry and watch buyer for Neiman's, said catalog promotions and billboard advertising, as well as the addition of strong new resources, contributed to the store's big gains at Christmas and are expected to keep fueling growth this spring.
While Neiman's has traditionally had a strong fine jewelry business, it was only a year ago that the store went heavily into designer jewelry collections, giving the business an additional boost.
According to Braun, Neiman's fine jewelry sales had already surpassed its planned figures for last fall, even before Christmas. Overall for the fourth quarter, precious jewelry scored double-digit increases, but watches in particular were a standout, with sales doubling over a year ago.
Part of the success with watches has come simply from offering shoppers plenty of options. Through the holidays, stores ran programs called "watch extravaganzas," where all fine watch inventory was showcased together.
"These events really increased customer awareness of what we were carrying, particularly in terms of the newest watch lines we brought in," Braun pointed out. Exclusive offerings, such as the Henry Dunay watch that was launched last October, also stirred interest.
During the extravaganzas, Braun said, "We saw increased sales in all gold watches, retailing from about $7,000 to as high as $100,000, with $15,000 to $25,000 being the best-selling range."
To give in-store events an added push, Neiman's also ran a billboard campaign featuring luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Piaget, Chopard and Cartier.
Having found a good formula, the merchant will continue promoting watches this spring. The next series of extravaganzas, in April, is set to coincide with the release of Neiman's watch catalog, which will be mailed to 100,000 customers and distributed over the counter.Similar efforts will continue to be focused on fine jewelry, according to Braun.
"To maintain some momentum, we're showcasing key collections for spring with designer personal appearances and special jewelry shows," he said.
Beginning in March, Neiman's will start a traveling designer jewelry show with stops in 16 cities promoting a dozen or more designers, including Henry Dunay, David Yurman, Elizabeth Locke, Jean Mahie and Marlene Stowe.
Braun noted that the hot spots for spring fine jewelry sales so far this year have been resort and vacation areas including Las Vegas, Denver, Scottsdale and Florida.
For Bergdorf's, the designer category of fine jewelry -- backed up with in-store appearances by some of the designers -- was one of the holiday season's winning areas.
According to Simonetta Morrison, Bergdorf's vice president and divisional merchandise manager for accessories and fine jewelry, December fine jewelry sales showed a 25 percent year-over-year increase.
She cited brisk turnover in designer collections from such names as Barry Kieselstein Cord, Angela Cummings, David Yurman and newcomer Darlene de Sedle.
Among the more popular holiday promotions, Morrison pointed out, were an appearance by Yurman, an event showcasing a dozen key designers where customers were given calendars featuring sketches by the designers, and Cummings's "Key to the Heart" event, which introduced a pin, the sales of which benefits the Mount Sinai breast resource program. The Cummings pin sold throughout the holiday season.
For spring, the store will continue with strategies that worked so well for the holidays, Morrison said. For instance, the advertising of upcoming fine jewelry events in local publications -- a tactic employed for holidays -- will be increased.
Bridge jewelry, another hot holiday category, will be melded with fine jewelry, Morrison said. Bridge jewelry designers will recreate some of their pieces in fine materials, effectively bringing the two areas closer.
The store will also start spreading the introduction of new merchandise throughout the spring season, rather than bringing it all in early, Morrison said.
Fine jewelry posted one of the largest departmental increases for the holidays at Saks, according to Helen Welsh, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for accessories."Our estate and gold businesses were both very good, as were designer sales," Welsh said. She pointed to Jeffrey Stephens, Steppenjay and David Yurman as leaders in the designer area.
Welsh said that while spring comprises a relatively small portion of Saks' annual fine jewelry sales, several promotions are planned for the season to keep shoppers interested.
Prior to its annual gold sale in August, the store will feature a February sale on gold merchandise timed for Valentine's Day, and a May precious stone event prior to Mother's Day.
Welsh pointed out that fine jewelry has posted a slightly higher growth rate than fashion jewelry for the past several years. She noted, however, that bridge business has become increasingly important and is expected to keep growing. The designer sterling area, a key part of the bridge business, she pointed out, has recorded double-digit increases with vendors such as John Hardy, Lagos and Lisa Jenks leading the way.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)