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Fewer Shoppers Buying More At Old San Juan Fine Jewelry Stores

Rely on tourists and locals; both are better informed, more selective


July 24, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Managers of fine jewelry shops in Old San Juan told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS that sales this year are more or less in line with last year’s, though the number of tourist shoppers is down.

"We are seeing fewer tourists, but they are spending more than last year," said Luz Rivera, manager of A Touch of Gold.

"Sales started out slow this year, but we have seen an increase during the past few months," said Juan Abislaiman, manager of Abislaiman Joyeros, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Although the number of tourists at Abislaiman’s store is about the same as it was last year, "[they] are definitely spending more money than before," he said.

Abislaiman’s cousin Julio, manager of Joyeria Riviera, however, said the number of tourists is down. "This year I’m seeing fewer shoppers spending more money," he said. Julio Abislaiman noted locals drive sales at his shop.

"Sales at fine jewelry stores in general could be described as spotty," he said. "At first we always think sales aren’t going to meet expectations, but then at the end of the month they do."

Julio Abislaiman said jewelers who want to increase sales must pay attention to changing consumer behavior. "It’s much tougher nowadays to make a sale. You have to be on top of trends in jewelry design because today’s shoppers are well-informed and know exactly what they want," he said. "In the past, I could bring in three diamonds and knew they would sell, but shoppers now come in asking for a specific item. If you don’t have that item, they won’t buy something else."

Jewelers on the U.S. mainland have reported an overall increase in sales. "Through the first quarter of 2002, jewelry store sales were up 0.7% over 2001," said Pam Danziger, president of Pennsylvania-based Unity Marketing. "Stores’ performance in the second quarter of 2002 was even better, with sales 4.3% ahead of the previous year. Clearly, consumers are satisfying a pent-up demand for jewelry which should yield strong industry growth."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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