07272016Wed
Last updateTue, 26 Jul 2016 9pm
Evans Jewelers creates a local “Destination” hot spot

Evans Jewelers creates a local “Destination” hot spot

“I cannot say enough wonderful things about Evans ...

Retailer Roundtable:  At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

Retailer Roundtable: At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s a...

ASHI launches Fine Jewelry catalog

ASHI launches Fine Jewelry catalog

ASHI is pleased to announce the release of its new...

Ron Rosen Jewelry’s Love Life collection: Unlike any you’ve seen

Ron Rosen Jewelry’s Love Life collection: Unlike any you’ve seen

‘Luxuriously affordable’ line draws rave reviews a...

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ISG Global Network introduces Gemology Lab

ISG Global Network introduces Gemology Lab

The ISG Global Network (ISG) is pleased to introduce the ISG Gemology Lab, the latest addition to ISG’s network of gemological and appraisal services. The purpose of the ISG Gemology Lab is to provide world-class gemological services for the identifi...

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Industry Events

Industry notables join panel at GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair

Industry notables join panel at GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair

Gem and jewelry’s largest recruiting event will take place July 25 at the Javits Center

(NEW YORK) - Prominent personalities from the gem and jewelry industry will join GIA at the Jacob Javits Center in New York for the Institute’s annual Jewelry Care...

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On The Move

Southern Gates® appoints reps for TOLA region

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - The Southern Gates® Collection is pleased to announce the addition of two new representatives to their growing sales team. Robert and Dana Douglas join The Cargo Hold in the TOLA region, bringing the best-selling Southern Gates® C...

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What's New

MJSA launches new Designer Collaborative

MJSA launches new Designer Collaborative

Appoints Andrea Hill as Designer Advocate

MJSA, the U.S. trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making & design, has announced plans to launch the MJSA Designer Collaborative, a community through which jewelry designers ...

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Featured Articles

Eager to grow, eager to please, Costar Imports realizing goal of going national

Eager to grow, eager to please, Costar Imports realizing goal of going national

With expansions to the San Francisco Bay Area and Thailand, Costar Imports has come a long way since Ram Kedia opened up shop in New Orleans back in 1988.

Costar began as a diamond wholesaler supplying independent retail jewelers in the Southeastern U...

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Latest News

ISG Global Network introduces Gemology Lab

8 HOURS AGO
ISG Global Network introduces Gemology Lab

The ISG Global Network (ISG) is pleased to introduce the ISG Gemology Lab, the latest addition to ISG’s network of gemological and appraisal services. The purpose of the ISG Gemology Lab is to provide world-class gemological services for the identification of natural and created gemstones, and their...

Readmore

AGS Laboratories Certificates for the ASHI I DO Collection

8 HOURS AGO
AGS Laboratories Certificates for the ASHI I DO Collection

Give your customers another reason to buy a beautiful bridal engagement ring from the ASHI I DO Collection, knowing that the diamond was graded by a respected independent gemological laboratory.  ASHI, in association with the American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL), now offers a detailed Diamond Gr...

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Industry notables join panel at GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair

19 DAYS AGO
Industry notables join panel at GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair

Gem and jewelry’s largest recruiting event will take place July 25 at the Javits Center

(NEW YORK) - Prominent personalities from the gem and jewelry industry will join GIA at the Jacob Javits Center in New York for the Institute’s annual Jewelry Career Fair on July 25. The not-to-miss opening panel ...

Readmore

4th annual Rings of Strength Tour: Walking, running, biking and yoga to support Jewelers for Children

25 DAYS AGO
4th annual Rings of Strength Tour: Walking, running, biking and yoga to support Jewelers for Children

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children held the 4th annual Rings of Strength Tour on Thursday, June 2, at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. More than 160 participants assembled at 5:30 a.m. to either walk or run 5K, or bike one of two courses, a leisurely 15K route or a challenging 50K route. ...

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Southern Gates® appoints reps for TOLA region

8 HOURS AGO

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - The Southern Gates® Collection is pleased to announce the addition of two new representatives to their growing sales team. Robert and Dana Douglas join The Cargo Hold in the TOLA region, bringing the best-selling Southern Gates® Collection to independent jewelry stores in Texas, ...

Readmore

Eaton Hudson launches new Jewelry Advisory Division

6 DAYS AGO
Eaton Hudson launches new Jewelry Advisory Division

Led by former Silverman Consultants’ team and focused on exit strategies and asset disposition

(ALPHARETTA, Ga. & TORONTO) - Eaton Hudson has announced the formation of a new division, Eaton Hudson Jewelry Advisors. Based in Charleston, SC, the division, led by the former Silverman Consultants tea...

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MJSA launches new Designer Collaborative

8 HOURS AGO
MJSA launches new Designer Collaborative

Appoints Andrea Hill as Designer Advocate

MJSA, the U.S. trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making & design, has announced plans to launch the MJSA Designer Collaborative, a community through which jewelry designers can share ideas, discover inspiration, and find th...

Readmore

Thorsten Jewelry introduces tungsten bands with precious metal inlays

8 HOURS AGO
Thorsten Jewelry introduces tungsten bands with precious metal inlays

(LONG BEACH, Calif.) - Thorsten Jewelry, a leading manufacturer of alternative metal wedding bands for men and women, is proud to launch their tungsten and precious metal inlaid wedding bands.  Tungsten rings with precious metal inlays offer the retail jeweler an opportunity to sell an alternative me...

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The silver lining to the 2008 holiday season

You've heard the news. You've seen the stats. The 2008 holiday retail season will go down as one of the worst in three decades. With a 2.8% decline in sales, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retailers across the country suffered through the loss of an astronomical $13 billion.


Jewelry, or luxury items, took an especially hard hit. In October 2008 MasterCard SpendingPulse reported a 20% drop in luxury sales over the previous year before the official holiday season even began. By the first week in December SpendingPulse reported luxury sales dropping a staggering 34.5% from the previous year. It is not surprising that many jewelry retailers reported double-digit declines in post-holiday stats.


But all was not doom and gloom. There were glimmers of hope displayed by some retail jewelers. Several independent retailers reported maintaining or increasing sales for 2008. These so-called ‘anomalies' beg the question... How did they do it?


Here are a few success stories from fellow retailers across the country.


Steve Morris, Helm's Jewelers, Rockingham, NC:
"I am happy to say we were up for December and for year-end 2008. We are in a small community and saw two competitors close their doors. That helped drive a little traffic our way, but I really attribute our increase to aggressive marketing. We knew during a down economy that it was more important than ever to stay in touch with our current customers. We also worked very hard, concentrating on the promotions that had been successful for us in the past. Overall, we feel very blessed. The Lord has been good to us."


Jon Mervis, Mervis Diamonds, Tysons Corner, VA:
"About our holiday sales, we find the best way to understand our numbers is to separate the bridal business from the gift business. Our gift business took a substantial hit, but we were pleasantly surprised that our bridal business remained strong through the holidays. Traditions and human sociology don't change because of a bad economy. With that said, customers are opting for lower price points than in past years. The number of tickets we wrote was consistent with previous years, only the dollar value of each transaction was lower.


"Customers are certainly shopping around more, asking more questions, and really challenging us to be on our game. It's times like these where independents across the country can show their true passion for the business and, I believe, this will be the key to survival. A power-house like Zales might have buying power that we don't, but we have muscles to flex too. We have real people with real knowledge. Customers appreciate that and they prove it with their credit cards."


Rex Solomon, Houston Jewelers, Houston, TX:
"We were up 23% for December 2008 and finished the year up. That's pretty good since we were forced to close for an entire month due to the hurricane. I attribute our success to the daily grass roots marketing program we implemented. We ran an ad in the local paper every day. We hired 14 men and one woman to dress as Santa and stand outside our store along the main street of town. During the holiday season they would sing, dance and wave to people while holding our signs. We hired people throughout the year to dress up in theme according to the holiday and stand outside holding our signs. Our customers love it."

 

So where is jewelry retail now?

Regardless of whether you made money or not, the trend for the season was low price point, and it is likely to remain there for some time. Amazon, which many consider to be the online price point leader, reported their best retail season ever with more than a 17% increase on its busiest day, according to Kristen A. Lee, AP Business writer - an increase which occurred amid a 2.3% drop for online sales in general. Likewise, Wal-Mart was one of the few traditional retailers who saw increased revenue numbers for the holiday season.


With holiday sales typically accounting for 30% - 50% of a retailer's annual total, a large swing one way or the other has tremendous impact on the bottom line. Jewelry retailers whose financial stability was fragile before the holiday season are now at a make or break point for their business.


Although reduced consumer spending accounts for a large portion of the retail recession, banking woes put the nail in the coffin. There is no doubt that the survival rate of smaller retail businesses would have increased if the banking industry had been more stable. With banks reevaluating lines of credit and pulling the purse strings tighter, retailers were faced with smaller lines of credit on top of drastically reduced sales and, in some cases, were forced to make up the difference.

Bob Epstein, with Silverman Consultants out of Charleston, SC, puts it in perspective: "People really need help out there. They are calling us to help them generate extra cash either through liquidation, bankruptcy or clearance sales. Banking concerns are causing loan advancements to tighten. The advance rate has dropped and retailers have less available funds today than they did six months ago. Many of our clients are holding clearance sales to generate cash to put toward those reduced lines of credit."


According to the Jewelers Board of Trade 2008 year end report, retail jewelry bankruptcies increased 21.1% in 2008. Even more indicative of the economic climate is the drastic impact on wholesalers. Wholesale bankruptcies increased by 80%.


"Everyone in the industry is being affected. Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are looking to streamline," states Epstein. "Companies with several locations are looking to eliminate the least effective ones. They are identifying the poor performers and even looking at the number of employees they have. People are reacting to the economy."


Despite consumer confidence being at an all-time low, small independent jewelers have an opportunity. At a time when the American people desperately need someone to put their trust in, the small independent jeweler is poised to provide that and then some. They can be the stable, trustworthy entity that is not swayed by economic or political upheaval.


"Mom and Pop stores will survive if they create a niche in their community," states A.G. Becker, owner of Becker Jewelry in Breese, IL. "Local people are looking for jewelers who take pride in what they do and who put their life in their business."


Rex Solomon adds: "Mom and Pop stores will weather this economy better than larger chains because strong independents have a lower cost structure and are more responsive to the market. They have greater flexibility and can buy gold directly from the public. Independents also have wholesalers and manufacturers backing them."


Jewelry may be a luxury item, but it runs close to the heart of everyone. It is tied to emotion and tradition and, at the end of the day, to happiness - and happiness is a necessity.


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