National Jeweler Network

Retail Surveys

For many, Mother’s Day sales exceeded expectations

By Hannah Connorton and Brecken Branstrator

May 12, 2014

Pearl earrings, like these white South Sea and diamond studs from Mikimoto, were a popular pick for mom this Mother's Day at one West Coast retailer. Also selling well were sterling silver designs and diamonds.

New York--Amazing and fantastic were among the adjectives jewelers used to describe their Mother’s Day sales when interviewed Monday.

One West Coast retailer even went so far as to say that it was one of the best, if not the best, Mother’s Day in his store’s 35-year history.

So what made consumers so hot to shop for mom? According to the jewelers who spoke to National Jeweler, it was a mix of nice weather, with sunshine and warm temperatures finally following in the wake of a brutal winter, and the continued release for pent-up demand

Read on to learn more about what sold by region.

“Mother’s Day was fantastic for us,” said Evan James Deutsch, owner of Evan James Ltd. in Brattleboro, Vt.

While the holiday is usually a “blip on the radar,” this year, he did very well.

Deutsch carries Alex and Ani, which he said was a big part of Mother’s Day sales at the store, with prices for these pieces ranging from $28 to $30.

He also sold engagement rings, diamond stud earrings and “Posh Mommy,” a branded line of jewelry that is “the new version of mother’s rings,” Deutsch said. These sales ranged from $700 to $1,000.

“I had [low] expectations, but we were really pleased this year,” he said. “I can’t explain why (Mother’s Day was successful), we didn’t advertise much at all and we spent very little on what we did do. But I’m excited enough about it that I’m going to advertise and promote earlier next year. If it’s going to turn into a jewelry-buying holiday, we’ll do something more.”

Mother’s Day traffic started Wednesday at Jay Roberts Jewelers in Marlton, N.J., and jeweler Jake Spigelman said he was “happy with the results.”

“People were buying a lot of silver, a lot of David Yurman, Lagos and John Hardy, those kind of things where you can spend $400 to $800 and get a nice, presentable gift and have it still be moderately priced,” he said.

Spigelman said there were some larger sales as well, including diamond stud earrings.

“I would say this Mother’s Day was on par with last year’s,” he said, adding that the store does a little print advertising for the holiday. “Certainly the general (consumer) attitude is better than it was in the first quarter of the year. We’re finally past all the inclement weather we had and people are starting to come out. It creates a positive feeling after a brutal winter.”

Mother’s Day was “very good, amazingly so” at Phil’s Jewelers in Anderson, S.C., co-founder Phil Silverstein said Monday.

The holiday is usually a busy one at the store, second only to Christmas, and he said traffic and purchasing “held up” this year, with most customers coming in Friday and Saturday to do their shopping.

Customers shopping for moms bought mostly silver jewelry, including bracelets and pendants, in the $100 price range. A few big-ticket items also were purchased, including rings with diamonds.

Silverstein, who advertises for Mother’s Day in the newspaper, said “The harder we try, it better it seems to get.”

There was “noticeable business” at Allen’s Jewelers in Albany, Ga. for Mother’s Day, where owner Steve Allen, like Deutsch in Vermont, said the holiday is not usually a busy one for the store.

“It was pretty decent this year,” he said. “We noticed a little business the week before (Mother’s Day) so it was surprising that people were coming in well in advance.”

Allen said a lot of customers came in looking for Pandora jewelry, which the retailer stopped carrying in February due to the brand’s business model and a decline in sales of the silver pieces.

He said it is the “beginning of the end” for Pandora.

“Some people we were able to sway (to buy other jewelry), others, we told them where the closest family-owned retailer was who had Pandora,” Allen said. “We sold other silver jewelry, not a great deal but we did sell some. We carry a lot of the Gabriel & Co. silver, and that sells well.”

The jeweler said many Mother’s Day sales fell in the $50 to $100 range, but he also sold Alwand Vahan pieces, which are priced from $1,000 to $1,500, and a pearl ring that cost $8,000.

“That made my week good,” Allen said.

Jeffrey Mann reported a strong Mother’s Day at his store in Toledo, Ohio, where a new partnership with Alor to offer gift cards for Mother’s Day brought a lot of traffic to the retailer.

“Mother’s Day is typically not a big event for us, but we definitely sold more units this year than we have in the past,” Mann said, adding that Thursday, Friday and Saturday were all busy days.

The most popular price points were between $500 and $2,500 with sterling silver, particularly Lagos, pulling ahead as the popular metal for the holiday. A new series of products by Alor also was popular among shoppers, according to Mann.

“We didn’t have any monstrous sales this year, but the couple-thousand price point sold really well for us,” he says. “I would say it was a very successful year.”

Jim Alperin of James Alperin Jewelers in Pepper Pike, Ohio, says that this Mother’s Day was weak for the store, despite his running promotions and ads in the paper and on television leading up to the holiday.

Though Mother’s Day is never a major part of the store’s business, Alperin noted two factors that he believes contributed to this year’s performance. The first is that Cleveland is a financially conservative city whose citizens weren’t ready to spend a lot this holiday.

Additionally, the store’s former next-door neighbor was a hair salon that would draw shoppers to the area. That business closed when the owner moved to Florida.

What remains in the shopping center are stores that don’t necessarily encourage shoppers to remain in the area for longer periods of time, including a bank, liquor store and market, Alperin said.

“The main draw for our center was the hairdresser, where women hang out for hours. Now with these other businesses, there’s a lot of traffic here, but people are pulling in, getting what they need, and leaving.”

Susan Eisen says that her store, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches in El Paso, Texas, had a successful Mother’s Day this year, selling more higher-end pieces than usual.

“Mother’s Day was great for us this year,” she says. “We had a little more activity this year and sales were better.”

Business was bustling on Saturday, as shoppers in the “last-minute city,” as Eisen refers to it, waited until the day before Mother’s Day to go looking for a present for mom.

The average price point this year was around $1,000, with a number of sales over that as well. The popular items in the store were sterling silver and diamond designer pieces.

Consumers also responded well to a special Mother’s Day gemstone bracelet that the store was offering for $185, which Eisen Fine Jewelry featured in a few of its promotions.

This Mother’s Day, the store focused on social media for advertising and promotions. They’ve also had television ads running but those were not specific to Mother’s Day.

Sterling silver sales also were popular for Barnes Jewelry in Amarillo, Texas, especially John Hardy and Pandora, as well as diamond studs and “dancing diamonds” jewelry. Jeweler Jeff Fox says that consumers were looking to spend between $200 and $800 on average.

Friday and Saturday were the busiest for the store, and traffic was steady, though sales were slightly down from 2013.

“Sales were down a touch from last year, but we’ve had a record two months with March and April, and May’s looking like it could be as well, so we’re very happy with the way things are going right now,” Fox said.

Steve Goldfarb, owner of Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler in Bellevue, Wash., just outside Seattle, said he can’t remember the last time he had such a busy Mother’s Day, even thinking back to the 1990s, when business always was brisk.

He stops short, however, of calling it the best in the store’s 35-year history.

“We were very busy last week. We had a very good Mother’s Day,” he said.

Shopping for graduation presents and Mother’s Day gift went hand in hand, as customers entered the store to get a gift for mom and ended up picking up something for graduation day too or vice versa.

Popular picks for mom included Rolex and Frederique Constant watches, diamond studs and smaller drops and Mikimoto pearl strands and studs.

Goldfarb said most shoppers spent $2,000 and up, with the average price point hovering around $2,500. He estimates that both foot traffic and sales were up 20 to 25 percent. 

“I think mom was good this year,” he jokes.

But, in all seriousness, Goldfarb said, “It really has been many years since they’ve been treating themselves. So now, if an opportunity arises, they are taking advantage of it.”

--Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff contributed to this report.