On Data: Sales Show Continued Improvement in July

ColumnistsAug 04, 2020

On Data: Sales Show Continued Improvement in July

Following a “dismal” April and a “bleak” May, Sherry Smith notes that independent jewelers’ sales have warmed up recently, particularly in this one category.

Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. She can be reached at
By now most of our retailers have reopened for business, albeit with many restrictions and in an environment that is far removed from the pre-COVID-19 business climate.

While we have no idea when things will change, it is reasonable to assume retailers will continue to face challenges for the remainder of the year.

Despite the difficulties, we have seen retailers quickly adapt to circumstances beyond their control. They continue to be creative and to utilize less traditional methods to drive revenue.

Prior to COVID-19, our data showed retailers’ gross sales were up 6 percent in the 12 months ending February 2020 when compared to the same 12-month period from the previous year.

This was the last full month of pre-COVID-19 business. 

By mid-March, numerous cities and states began implementing shelter-in-place mandates, forcing most retailers to close their doors. 

What started out as a very strong March ended with a 33 percent decline in gross sales compared to March of 2019.

This was followed by a dismal April (gross sales down 39 percent) and a bleak May (gross sales down 50 percent).

RELATED CONTENT: A 5-Point Reopening Checklist
 By June, however, retailers’ agility and willingness to adapt to the pandemic netted them a 2.3 percent increase in gross sales over June 2019.

July appears to be even better, as the 21-day period ending July 24 showed a 10 percent increase in gross sales. 

The diamond categories specifically showed an impressive 16 percent increase in gross sales and a 19 percent increase in number of units sold.

More broadly, we are seeing a continuance of several trends through the pandemic.

Unit sales, which have been in decline for a few years, are now down double digits but gross sales continue to improve. 

Shopping restrictions notwithstanding, it would seem there is a much more motivated customer out there. They are once again visiting retail jewelry stores with the intention of buying. 

Finally, the data shows that the diamond categories are outperforming the market. 

In June, units in the diamond categories were up 9.4 percent. And, as noted above, the diamond category performance month-to-date in July appears to be even stronger.

At the risk of stating the obvious, retailers should be reviewing not only their own data but also industry data more broadly to gauge performance and manage their businesses. 

We should value our gut instinct and tap into our experience in running our businesses, yes, but using 
data to support or challenge assumptions should also be a given.

It would be easy to look at the overall numbers and stress over the decline in units of sale while taking comfort that gross sales are up.

But knowing how to interpret the data and understanding how it can help you manage your business is essential.

When you take a deeper dive into the data, there are clear winners and, in this case, it’s your diamond categories, which make up approximately 50 percent of all annual jewelry sales.

Edge Pulse users can delve even more deeply into our $2 billion in aggregated jewelry sales from the independent channel and identify several other important key performance indicators.

First, they’ll notice that loose diamonds drive 10 percent of total annual gross profit dollars with an increase in year-over-year average retail sale.

Second, they’ll see that diamond bracelets and diamond necklaces are both showing increases in gross sales, as well as units sold, in the rolling 12 months ending June 2020.

They then could conduct a further analysis to determine the specific price points as well as the vendors with the best-selling SKUs in these categories from our industry’s aggregated data.

Knowing this information is critical to managing your business. 

It can help identify potential missing categories, price points and bestsellers from your top-performing vendors. It can also give you a data-based metric to measure your business against an important industry benchmark.

As June and July show, there is great grit and resilience in retail jewelry stores.

Keep up the great work, and let us know if we can help. 
Sherry Smithis director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy.

The Latest

Recorded WebinarsMay 07, 2021
Watch: The Office Called, It Wants You Back

As more people prepare to return to work, two JVC attorneys discuss vaccines, health screenings, permanent remote work, and more.

Events & AwardsMay 07, 2021
Here’s the Latest on Health, Safety Measures for JCK Las Vegas

They include temperature screenings, a “no handshakes, no hugs” policy, and more.

CollectionsMay 07, 2021
Muzo Colombian Emeralds Debuts E-Commerce, New Collection

It’s the famed emerald miner’s first entirely shoppable website.

Brought to you by
How to Engage and Sell to Millennials

Millennials were once feared in the diamond industry, but now this younger generation has become today’s largest diamond buying demographic.

IndependentsMay 07, 2021
JA Promotes Fine Jewelry for Mother’s Day

The trade organization showcased members’ jewelry on more than 30 morning shows across the U.S.

Weekly QuizApr 29, 2021
This Week's Quiz
Test your knowledge of jewelry news from the week of May 3-7, 2021.
Take the Quiz
TrendsMay 07, 2021
Piece of the Week: Brent Neale’s Emerald Knot Ring

It pairs May’s birthstone with bright turquoise.

Policies & IssuesMay 06, 2021
US Economy Could See Fastest Growth Since the ‘80s

The National Retail Federation expects it to grow nearly 7 percent in 2021 as businesses reopen and consumer confidence continues to rise.

Brought to you by
A New Golden Age

Gold has had its share of ups and downs over the last 5 decades. Here’s why the metal is having another big comeback.

IndependentsMay 06, 2021
Harris Jewelry Closes All Locations

The jeweler will continue to operate online and via phone.