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JA fights for jewelers on Capitol Hill

JA fights for jewelers on Capitol Hill

Association continues to promote industry policy p...

Morganite: The modern face of jewelry

Morganite: The modern face of jewelry

Trends come and go as quickly as the seasons. Much...

Retailer Roundtable: How do you manage your store’s social media?

Retailer Roundtable: How do you manage your store’s social media?

Q: How do you manage your store’s social media?

“We...

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Q: What was your best store promotion?

“For a numbe...

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Staged kidnapping ploy to rob jeweler results in two deaths

Staged kidnapping ploy to rob jeweler results in two deaths

LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — Henderson police say a Las Vegas man was arrested in connection with the double homicide of two men.

38-year-old Brian Kleynen was arrested at his Las Vegas apartment and taken into custody without incident just before noon....

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Industry Events

Golden Triangle Shows announces new event in Kansas City

Golden Triangle Shows announces new event in Kansas City

The Golden Triangle Show, organizers and managers of regional business to business trade shows, has announced it is opening a new market in Kansas City, Missouri. To be held September 24-26 at the KCI Expo Center, the new show “is geared to serve the...

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On The Move

ASHI Diamonds appoints Ash Shah, CG, as Director of Business Development

ASHI Diamonds appoints Ash Shah, CG, as Director of Business Development

(NEW YORK) - ASHI Diamonds is pleased to announce the addition of Ash Shah, CG, as their Director of Business Development. Ash’s appointment is part of ASHI’s marketing and expansion strategy that will enable it to better serve the independent jeweler...

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What's New

JVC releases “Getting It Right JVC’s Guide to Quality Programs for Jewelers”

(NEW YORK) - JVC has announced the publication of its latest guide - “Getting It Right – JVC’s Guide to Quality Programs for Jewelers” - published with a generous grant from International Gemological Institute (IGI).

The latest publication from the JVC...

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Featured Articles

Revering a retiring patriarch, new generation at Ohio’s Leo Alfred Jewelers embraces simple recipe for success

Revering a retiring patriarch, new generation at Ohio’s Leo Alfred Jewelers embraces simple recipe for success

What makes Leo Alfred Jewelers in Dublin, Ohio, a special place? It’s a poignant subject these days. Tom Laudick, who has been in the jewelry industry for much of his life, retires this year but leaves an indelible mark on the next generation.

“Every ...

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Latest News

Staged kidnapping ploy to rob jeweler results in two deaths

2 DAYS AGO
Staged kidnapping ploy to rob jeweler results in two deaths

LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — Henderson police say a Las Vegas man was arrested in connection with the double homicide of two men.

38-year-old Brian Kleynen was arrested at his Las Vegas apartment and taken into custody without incident just before noon.

The homicide happened on April 12 in the 100 block...

Readmore

JA fights for jewelers on Capitol Hill

2 DAYS AGO
JA fights for jewelers on Capitol Hill

Association continues to promote industry policy positions through meetings, fund raisers and other activities

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, has ramped up advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. Recent activities...

Readmore

Golden Triangle Shows announces new event in Kansas City

2 DAYS AGO
Golden Triangle Shows announces new event in Kansas City

The Golden Triangle Show, organizers and managers of regional business to business trade shows, has announced it is opening a new market in Kansas City, Missouri. To be held September 24-26 at the KCI Expo Center, the new show “is geared to serve the greater multi state region,” says show director B...

Readmore

August Atlanta Jewelry Show to spotlight coming trends, new designs, preview 2017 Show enhancements

2 DAYS AGO
August Atlanta Jewelry Show to spotlight coming trends, new designs, preview 2017 Show enhancements

(ATLANTA) - When jewelers arrive for the August 6-8, 2016 Atlanta Jewelry Show at the Cobb Galleria, they’ll find a welcoming and enjoyable show experience that has defined the show throughout its history. Brand new resources, an easy-to-work floorplan, pre-show breakfast, AJS U educational offerings...

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ASHI Diamonds appoints Ash Shah, CG, as Director of Business Development

2 DAYS AGO
ASHI Diamonds appoints Ash Shah, CG, as Director of Business Development

(NEW YORK) - ASHI Diamonds is pleased to announce the addition of Ash Shah, CG, as their Director of Business Development. Ash’s appointment is part of ASHI’s marketing and expansion strategy that will enable it to better serve the independent jewelers in the United States.

Readmore

Cecilia Gardner’s role at JVC to change in 2017

5 DAYS AGO

(NEW YORK) - The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) has announced that Cecilia Gardner, CEO/President and General Counsel, has decided to step down from her role as CEO/President at the beginning of 2017, after the planned celebration of JVC’s 100th year.

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JVC releases “Getting It Right JVC’s Guide to Quality Programs for Jewelers”

5 DAYS AGO

(NEW YORK) - JVC has announced the publication of its latest guide - “Getting It Right – JVC’s Guide to Quality Programs for Jewelers” - published with a generous grant from International Gemological Institute (IGI).

The latest publication from the JVC provides simple and useable tools for all jeweler...

Readmore

TW Steel’s new Maverick Collection adds attitude to the sport heritage world

5 DAYS AGO
TW Steel’s new Maverick Collection adds attitude to the sport heritage world

TW Steel is shaking up Father Time in 2016, launching the adventurous Maverick Collection. Inspired by the ground-breaking Son of Time masterpiece, the Maverick Collection takes TW Steel’s bold attitude, blends in cool vintage styling and twists it all together to deliver a totally fresh take on tim...

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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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