Black Friday Retailer Report

Retailers share news from the start of the holiday shopping season

As you may have heard, predictions that shoppers would spend big this holiday shopping season have proven correct so far, with a record $5 billion reportedly taken in in 24 hours. But the real news is digital sales, which account for an increasing portion of Black Friday sales each year. In-store sales were reportedly down, but only slightly from 2016. While the final word on the holiday shopping season is still TBD, the news is encouraging for business owners everywhere. We wanted to know how retailers across the country fared on one of the year’s busiest shopping days—and what items shoppers took home. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Bridal is best.

“Black Friday was more about bridal and diamonds, with stacking bands leading the trend. We sent an email focused on cleaning your jewelry after Thanksgiving. Once the customers were in the store, we began to introduce the concept of adding a stackable band.” —Maria Aguirre, Benold’s Jewelers, Austin, TX

“Bridal and loose diamonds were big sellers this Black Friday, and we were up from last year. Small Business Saturday is really starting to take off, in my opinion.” —Tom Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Towson, MD

It’s not all about Black Friday.

“Black Friday itself was not bad for us. The morning brought in some good sales for early Christmas gifts. The week before Black Friday, though, we held our major sales event, and raised our month by 50 percent in sales from it! People are buying retail this year. We’re just looking for ways to seize opportunity.” —Kyle Bullock, Bullock’s Jewelry, Roswell, NM

“We stopped calling it ‘Black Friday’ 10 years ago. It’s just ‘the day after Thanksgiving.’ It’s crazy to try to fight the mall and big box stores. Every year we do something for a local nonprofit that generates tons of traffic. We encourage people to sleep in, enjoy their family, and then come in for a good cause.” —Jay Seiler, Security Jewelers, Duluth, MN

Name brands are a big pull.

“Lots of people came in, but sales were down about eight percent. We sold mostly Pandora and Alex and Ani, both of which did massive TV advertising.” —Kay Cameron, Kay Cameron Jewelers, Sayville, NY

“Our Black Friday sales were up this year, thanks to Gems One and Best Buy coordinating a gift-with-purchase program for us. It brought people in because they were excited about getting electronic gifts for the jewelry purchases. Also, we’re still selling a lot of two-stone rings.” —Teri Hayman, David Hayman Jewellers, Yorba Linda, CA

“Small Business Saturday was interesting because customers came into the store to buy small stocking stuffers like silver earrings and pearl-and-silver earrings. I have to say it again: The Les Georgettes cuffs are a massive hit! It is unbelievable.” —Maria Aguirre, Benold’s Jewelers, Austin, TX

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