Interviews

Brookstone CEO on company's holiday sales

What's impacting consumers this year?

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 2, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, Brookstone, the purveyor of all things gadgets, rightly goes gaga on this Cyber Monday, whether buyers click them and order them or just drop into Brookstone's ubiquitous stores and nab them.

To the company CEO, Jim Speltz, on how he's dealing with them and what might be holding some of them back.

We're always hearing these stories about some people, they are shopping, they're just not going nuts. Are you experiencing that?

JIM SPELTZ, PRESIDENT & CEO, BROOKSTONE: You know, we had tremendous results over the Black Friday weekend. I was in working three or four different stories over Thursday and Friday. And...

CAVUTO: Were you really? Were you open Thursday?

SPELTZ: We were open Thursday.

CAVUTO: Oh.

SPELTZ: We had about 100 stores that were open from the evening hours right on through the night, and what I saw from customers...

CAVUTO: Did your family mind that in your case and...

SPELTZ: No, they didn't. They -- they were actually enjoying an evening...

CAVUTO: Not being with you.

(LAUGHTER)

SPELTZ: ... of not -- of not having to be...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Tell me that you -- you had in-laws over, didn't you?

SPELTZ: No. They went down to the in-laws.

(CROSSTALK)

SPELTZ: But I'll tell you what, Neil, we had -- in the stores, the teams were so fired up to be there that night, we pulled a lot of business forward.

The malls were jammed and people were in incredible spirits. What I saw was a lot of families out shopping together. Everybody was in a great mood. And...

CAVUTO: They were shopping and everybody was in a great mood?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Really?

SPELTZ: They were shopping as a family, yes.

CAVUTO: Were they drinking or they...

SPELTZ: No.

CAVUTO: No? OK.

(CROSSTALK)

SPELTZ: No, I didn't see any drinking. But...

CAVUTO: You talk about this. Certainly, the crowds were out. And you have heard this ad nauseam, Jim, but they weren't buying as much this year. The numbers aren't official-official yet. Neither are obviously cyber numbers today, but what is going on? What do you think is holding some back?

SPELTZ: Well, I think some are held by back -- certainly health care's costs are playing into people's concerns. On the flip side, you have got a stock market that is on a great run-up. People are feeling a bit more optimistic about their futures and stability.

CAVUTO: Well, who is your core customer? Which sways? The stock market?

SPELTZ: You know, throughout the year, I think our core customer sits in a middle to better income bracket. Predominantly, it's a female customer buying for men.

CAVUTO: Really?

SPELTZ: But -- but when you get into holiday, that actually changes. It becomes much more broad in terms of the price points that we offer.

We're -- actually, an average retail is about $30 to $31 for products in our store. So while we have this perception of being a high-priced retailer, the reality is, is that we're extremely approachable across all income levels.

CAVUTO: I think they get that idea because isn't that the $4,000 vibrating...

SPELTZ: Massage chair, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SPELTZ: Yes.

CAVUTO: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: That's great. But then you have the -- you know, the $30 little spinning helicopter.

SPELTZ: Sure.

CAVUTO: It's confusing.

SPELTZ: Sure.

We have gifts, like I said, for all ages and for all interest levels. One of our hottest products this year is a product called sand. It is kinetic sand, 98 percent sand and two percent polymer. It's a great stress reliever, but it's also extremely fun for kids to mold, sculpt anything that you can imagine with. Unlike something like Play-Doh, it will never dry out. And it's completely safe.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, see, that's the little -- see, you and I were just kidding before the break here.

I think kids are drawn to your store. And I use my sons, 11, 12 years old, a good example.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: There's so much stuff to play with there.

So what I suggest to you for business advice -- and you don't need it -- draw in the kids and you will draw in the parents. Let them play there, if you mind. Mine break all your stuff.

(CROSSTALK)

SPELTZ: No, of course. You're more than welcome any time.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: You factor that in.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: But then I think the parents come in and they're pleasantly surprised.

SPELTZ: Yes.

We set up these demonstration stations at the front of our stores called You Got to See It.

CAVUTO: Right.

SPELTZ: It's where we have taken some of our most demonstrable products. We have put a sales person there to show you how the kinetic sand works, how our perfect drink maker works, and really let the customers touch and feel, which is the hallmark of the Brookstone experience. It's an interactive playground. We want you to fall in love with the products as part of your purchase decision.

CAVUTO: I think if you open up a processed meats and cheeses department, I think you're off to the races, young man.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: But I digress.

Jim, great seeing you. Good luck.

SPELTZ: I appreciate it. Thanks.

CAVUTO: All right. It's a fun store, and a great place to have your kid go and just mess up.

SPELTZ: Just tear it up.

CAVUTO: I'm just saying that.

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