Leslie Salant, owner
How do this year’s sales compare to recent years’? Are you seeing a consistent decline or a slow improvement?
Our best year was 2006. Since then, we have seen a consistent decline of revenue. Six percent the first year, 8% the second, and this year I am predicting at least another 8% decrease.
But we’re not worried. Why? Because everyone seems to be in a good mood. They have adjusted to the times and are ready to look forward. So, it is with a sense of optimism that we approach the holiday season.
Are you projecting more positive numbers for 2010? What are you doing now to keep customers shopping?
We are sensing a more positive attitude for 2010. It seems our customers are finally loosening their purse strings. We can tell that by the fact that when they come in to purchase a needed gift for a wedding or birthday, they are treating themselves to a little something such as a piece of jewelry or a pretty scarf.
Clearly we are not seeing the same volume of people, and the dollar amount of each sale has been lower, so we have increased our advertising budget twofold. We have been sending e-mails at least once a month featuring selected items and offering incentives. Shoppers love incentives!
Have you tried any new promotions in the last two quarters?
Yes, we are definitely doing more in-store events. An amazing event, which I can promise will bring fantastic results, is to hold a gold party. The cost of gold is at an all-time high. Hosting a gold trade-for-cash party is a spectacular way to bring people in. And the trick of course, is to offer a discount on any new jewelry purchased that same day.
How has the economy affected your marketing budget? Are you adding, subtracting or keeping an even keel?
As I have said, we are definitely doing more advertising. Now is the time to get your name out there, remind people of how fabulous you are and get them to come back.
We have been working with more local charities, giving donations and adding our name to programs and press announcements. I know we are being seen more as I often hear, ”Oh I saw you in …”
What changes did you make to your inventory mix during the economic downturn? What types of items are selling best right now?
Our inventory has changed somewhat over the past year. We were well stocked with high-end glass and jewelry, so I did not buy anything in that category. Mainly though, I have tried to find more things in lower price points. Best sellers these days are small ceramic dishes, wood cutting boards and boxes inscribed with inspirational quotes.
Jewelry in general is still our best category, and I did not scrimp on bringing in lots of new and exciting pieces. I just kept the prices down.