On Data: Get Your Bestsellers In Stock Now

ColumnistsNov 11, 2020

On Data: Get Your Bestsellers In Stock Now

Sherry Smith says things are looking up for independent jewelers, but waiting to replenish top sellers could be a costly misstep this holiday season.

Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. She can be reached at
Steve Dennis wrote in “Remarkable Retail” that: “Historically, many retailers have been intuition rich and data poor. Or even if a decent amount of data was compiled, it was hard to work with or was ignored. For the merchant princes, more times than not, their mantra was, ‘In gut we trust.’” 

I confess to having an insatiable curiosity when it comes to watching data; monthly, weekly, even daily. 

This is especially so when it comes to how our independent retailers are faring during the pandemic, and more specifically, how they might perform during the holiday season.

Despite the crazy challenges of this year, independent retailers continue to overcome almost every obstacle thrown at them and are delivering exceptional performances. 

For most retailers, June was the first month they fully reopened for business. 

From June on, each subsequent month has seen sales performance top the same period from the previous year. 

This impressive trend continued in October, which showed a 17 percent increase in gross sales. 

And, as has been the case for quite some time, while the number of overall units sold continues a downward trend, average retail ticket keeps climbing. 

The average retail sale for October was up 30 percent.

With respect to specific products, loose diamonds showed a 16 percent increase in gross sales in October, representing 15 percent of total gross sales for the month.

Diamond bands also showed solid performance and represented a 25 percent increase in gross sales in October when compared to the same period last year. 

Interestingly, diamond bands are in fact one of the few categories that show an increase in all key performance indicators. 

Beyond gross sales, bands were also up in units (+17 percent), average retail (+7 percent), and gross margin (+3 percent).

Historically, retailers have mostly viewed diamond bands as a wedding product. 

However, this category has evolved to include right-hand rings, occasion bands (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), and a variety of stackable designs, opening up far more opportunities for retailers to grow that category.

While there are some outliers, the sweet spot for most units sold in this particular category seems to be $300 to $1,500 according to our $2 billion of aggregated sales.

One of the best-selling SKUs we see in the diamond band category happens to be a price-point rose gold ring. However, the vast majority of bands are white gold prong-set with round brilliant diamonds.

Understandably, the disruptions of 
April and May had an adverse effect on retail performance, but the subsequent string of positive months has recovered much of the lost ground going into these remaining important weeks.

For the 12-month period ending July, we saw a 5 percent decline in overall sales year-over-year.

By August, the 12-month decline was 4.4 percent, and by September the decline was down to 3.4 percent.

While the data for October trailing 12 months is not yet available, it is anticipated that we will see further erosion of the trailing deficit.

So, what does this all mean for the important holiday period?

Retailers should continue with their COVID-19 initiatives such as curbside delivery, one-on-one appointments, virtual trunk shows and contactless payments.

Most importantly, they should continue to follow best practices around inventory management, especially, and most importantly, replenishing bestsellers as quickly as possible. Not doing so might just be the single greatest source of lost sales in the season.

If they’re not already doing so, retailers should review last year’s holiday performance to identify bestsellers and get them in immediately.

Vendors have had to manage their inventories tightly in what has been a very difficult year for them, and it could be a costly miss to assume that bestsellers will be available as the season develops.

Check your numbers, be proactive, and have a great holiday season!

Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. In her role, Smith works with wholesalers, brands and retail stores on business mentoring, and data analysis and aggregation. Reach her at
Sherry Smithis director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy.

The Latest

EditorsSep 27, 2021
4 Takeaways from the First HardRock Summit

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator shares insights from the show, including what people have been buying and where it could go from here.

CollectionsSep 27, 2021
Gabriel & Co. Launches Men’s Collection

The fine jewelry design company has a dedicated men’s fine jewelry collection and a men’s wedding band array.

Lab-GrownSep 27, 2021
RJC Is Developing a Standard for Lab-Grown Diamonds, Gems

It will be for all companies that deal in lab-grown materials.

Brought to you by
Bringing Sexy Back: The Allure of COUTURE, Italian Style

Take a tour of Italian designers at COUTURE 2021.

CollectionsSep 27, 2021
BaubleBar’s New NFL Collection Brings Sparkle to Team Spirit

The licensed collection features jewelry inspired by all 32 NFL teams.

Weekly QuizSep 23, 2021
This Week's Quiz
Test your knowledge of jewelry news from the week of Sept. 20-24, 2021.
Take the Quiz
MajorsSep 24, 2021
Brilliant Earth Is Now a Public Company

CEO Beth Gerstein said she believes in the jeweler’s omnichannel approach as its retail rollout continues.

Events & AwardsSep 24, 2021
These 3 Companies Will Receive Business Grants from PGI USA

PGI created the program to accelerate the growth of the platinum jewelry market in the U.S.

Brought to you by
What is your Health Care Coverage Strategy?

Health care coverage is a big expense for small businesses - find out how to lower costs long-term instead of every 12 months.

CollectionsSep 24, 2021
Zales Introduces Elvis Presley Men’s Jewelry Line

From its curb link chains to statement diamond rings, the new collection takes inspiration from the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”