New York--JA New York’s Special Delivery show, which opened Sunday and ends today at the Javits Convention Center in New York, is experiencing a festive mood this year, and not just because it overlapped with Halloween.
“Sunday was amazing,” said Albert Kalantarov of New York-based wholesaler AR Creations. “The holiday season looks promising. We’re expecting a lot more sales.”
The majority of exhibitors with whom National Jeweler spoke noted the strength of business on Sunday, with things slowing down after that, though there was still a good amount of foot traffic on Monday.
“People aren’t spending like they used to, of course, but they have definitely been buying here,” said Adriene Pernice of World Trade Jewelers, who noted that the company’s diamond fashion jewelry seemed to be doing well.
David Rosen of Gold Trader Inc., a jewelry store in Springfield, Mass., also noted a positive buying mood, saying, “We are optimistic that we will see an increase over last December, simply based on trends we’re seeing. It’s not a comment on the economy in general, but at least for our slice of the world (it’s positive).”
"Given the market conditions, we’re feeling very positive about the show and the job we’ve done driving attendance," said JA New York Group Show Director Drew Lawsky. "People are seeing an uptick in their business because of exhibiting at Special Delivery.
Several companies who declined to be quoted for this story felt a discrepancy in buying per price point, with the lower-end category coming out on top. Fashion jewelry and silver sales were said to be particularly strong at the show.
Pernice concluded that items wholesaling between $150 and $500 seemed to be the sweet spot at Special Delivery, though a number of accounts still felt comfortable spending up to $3,000 or $4,000 total if needed.
Bowie Ha, of Top Ten Jewelry Corporation, a New York wholesale company explained, “I’m sure the election has something to do with the buying mood here at the show. People are not willing to spend a considerable amount of money into purchasing stock for their stores because consumers are not ready to spend that much money for jewelry yet.”
Ah, the election.
Like the country, buyers and sellers at Special Delivery seemed split on whether the presidential race was affecting business.
"It's difficult to speculate on the impact the election has had on buying behavior," Lawsky said. "I think it's safe to say that people are being cautious in their buying decisions until they know the outcome of the election and how it may affect the global financial market."
While many wholesalers felt the gravitation toward lower-end price points was due to election anxiety, others took an opposite view.
“I would say the election isn’t influencing how people are buying,” said Matt Laggenbauer of swing state Ohio-based Quality Gold, who noted that the company was expecting a very busy holiday season. “No, I don’t see it affecting sales at all,” he affirmed.
Kalantarov said that he would be voting for Trump on Nov. 8, though. “We think that it’s going to be OK whether it’s Hillary or Trump; we’re going to be alright. Customers are a little more cautious, but it’s still a little hard to tell right now.”
Rosen wasn’t afraid of the election negatively influencing sales. “I think our customers are looking for value and opportunity--the opportunity to find a selection at a price they can afford. They’re value shoppers. They recognize price; they shop price.”
Some thought the election could even have positive effects.
Retailer Diane Glynn of Jenkintown, Pa. store Diane Glynn Jewelry, said, “After the election [business] is going to pick up because we’re all going to be optimistic no matter who the candidate is who wins.”
Glynn’s daughter, Lisa Glynn Vinicur, chimed in, “I am seeing, actually, more people starting to come in and buy, and business seems to be picking up.”
“We did see a real jump in business,” Glynn confirmed, “and I think that people are just going to be ready to do some more.”
Janice Levy, of Lissa Fine Jewelry, a retail store in New York, also felt that the retail jewelry landscape was looking positive for the holidays, no matter the outcome on Election Day.
She concluded, “Shopping makes everybody feel better.”
--Michelle Graff and Brecken Branstrator contributed to this report.