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Feeling the Pinch

Feeling the Pinch

By Angie Ash, EVP It’s not hard to see the effects of inflation as we know it “at the moment” when we fill up our gas tanks and go to the grocery store. At $4.00+ at the low end for a gallon of gas and $11.00 a pound for quality smoked ham, for example, the proof is on your receipt, the pinch is in your wallet, and ow, it hurts a bit. For now, we’re all grumbling about it, but like the Americans we are, we remain optimistic that the supply chain issues and cost of goods will soon be back to normal. Of course, that is hinging a lot on the situation between Ukraine and Russia. So anxiety is starting to ramp up just a bit. As retail jewelers, you likely kept a close eye on President Biden’s executive order to ban the import of Russian diamonds. If you missed it, you can read more about it here. Since this effectively halts the importing of Alrosa’s diamonds, which make up about a third of the world’s supply, you can bet that as much as you support this decision from a humanitarian point of view, the effects on your store's supply of diamonds may be felt sooner than later. Pair that with a whole heck of a lot of Americans now starting to scale back even more on things like travel, dining out, and subscription services and goods, and “Let’s Stay at Home” may well become a mantra instead of a cute wall sign if things don’t improve quickly. The situation at hand feels tenuous at best. Before you think I’m getting all doom and gloom here, the good news is when people scale back, it’s not typically on things like gifts for the people they love. One thing Covid taught everyone was to not take the people in their lives for granted. So yes, graduations, anniversaries, weddings, and birthdays will still surely be celebrated with jewelry for many. And, as retailers, there’s never been a better time to push the messages of value and gifts that will last, hopefully much longer than dire financial projections. Many retailers saw the best sales year they’ve ever had in 2021 and nobody wants to give that success up. But don’t anticipate that the flow of traffic and money is going to keep coming in the door without some help, even if you feel like you’re riding a good wave. Now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Sit down with your staff and start planning the next several months of promotions stat. Be prepared to get creative. Make lists of the customers you’ll call down and text. Roll up your sleeves. What’s to come in the year ahead can still be great. And with some hard work, “pinch me” is what you’ll be saying when you’ve met another year of retail success.
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