08282016Sun
Last updateTue, 23 Aug 2016 8pm
Kentucky Jeweler identifies credit card scam

Kentucky Jeweler identifies credit card scam

One occurrence is an anomaly. Two instances of a p...

24K Club SEUS honors Mark & Rhonda Jacobson with 2016 Jeweler of the Year Award

24K Club SEUS honors Mark & Rhonda Jacobson with 2016 Jeweler of the Year Award

(SMYRNA, Ga.) - Mark and Rhonda Jacobson, owners of...

Retailers “ready to buy” at the Atlanta Jewelry Show

Retailers “ready to buy” at the Atlanta Jewelry Show

The doors of the Atlanta Jewelry Show opened to mo...

Jeweler helps staff with gun safety training

Jeweler helps staff with gun safety training

Sales and support staff in jewelry stores across t...

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Industry Events

JIS to relocate to Ft. Lauderdale during Miami Beach Convention Center renovation

(NORWALK, Conn.) - Jewelers International Showcase (JIS) provides the jewelry industry with three impressive buying and selling opportunities each year at the Miami Beach Convention Center - JIS Miami January, JIS Miami April and JIS Miami October (Oc...

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On The Move

24 Karat Club SEUS inducts new members

24 Karat Club SEUS inducts new members

The 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States (24K Club SEUS) welcomed two new members at their Forty-Second Annual Banquet held at the Atlanta Country Club on August 6. The 24K Club Class of 2016 includes Stark Harbour, owner Southern Jewelry Insuran...

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What's New

HOLLIS BAHRINGER expands line of men’s designer jewelry

HOLLIS BAHRINGER expands line of men’s designer jewelry

(NORWALK, Conn.) - HOLLIS BAHRINGER, a leading manufacturer of contemporary metal men’s jewelry is proud to announce the release of six new collections to its assortment. Adding both natural white diamonds and black diamonds, this season’s additions b...

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable: What are the biggest challenges facing today’s independent retail jeweler?

Retailer Roundtable: What are the biggest challenges facing today’s independent retail jeweler?

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing today’s independent retail jeweler?

“As an independent retail jeweler we are constantly facing many challenges ranging from competing big box stores, other independent jewelers, a declining consumer interest i...

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Latest News

Lockheed Martin Files Patent to 3D-Print Diamonds

4 DAYS AGO
Lockheed Martin Files Patent to 3D-Print Diamonds

Aerospace company Lockheed Martin filed a patent for making synthetic diamonds from 3D printing.

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Digging underway in search for “Nazi Gold Train”

4 DAYS AGO
Digging underway in search for “Nazi Gold Train”

WALBRZYCH, Poland — A group of explorers has begun digging in southwestern Poland in a quixotic search for a buried Nazi train said to be filled with stolen gold, gems and artworks — despite experts’ doubts that the train even exists.

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JIS to relocate to Ft. Lauderdale during Miami Beach Convention Center renovation

4 DAYS AGO

(NORWALK, Conn.) - Jewelers International Showcase (JIS) provides the jewelry industry with three impressive buying and selling opportunities each year at the Miami Beach Convention Center - JIS Miami January, JIS Miami April and JIS Miami October (October being the 2nd largest jewelry trade show in ...

Readmore

Retailers “ready to buy” at the Atlanta Jewelry Show

18 DAYS AGO
Retailers “ready to buy” at the Atlanta Jewelry Show

The doors of the Atlanta Jewelry Show opened to models draped with pearls, welcoming buyers to a bright show floor brimming with new products and collections from first-time and long-time vendors. Held from August 6 to 8 at the Cobb Galleria Centre, the show’s robust agenda of events included educat...

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24 Karat Club SEUS inducts new members

11 DAYS AGO
24 Karat Club SEUS inducts new members

The 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States (24K Club SEUS) welcomed two new members at their Forty-Second Annual Banquet held at the Atlanta Country Club on August 6. The 24K Club Class of 2016 includes Stark Harbour, owner Southern Jewelry Insurance and Michael Lebowitz, Director of Jewelry White...

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IDD named Leading Jewelers Guild “Vendor of the Year”

11 DAYS AGO
IDD named Leading Jewelers Guild “Vendor of the Year”

IDD Jewelry of New York, an industry leader in basic diamond jewelry and bridal programs, was recently honored as the “2016 Vendor of the Year” by the Leading Jewelers Guild. As voted by the members of the group, the award recognizes excellence in customer service and innovative product. Already the...

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HOLLIS BAHRINGER expands line of men’s designer jewelry

4 DAYS AGO
HOLLIS BAHRINGER expands line of men’s designer jewelry

(NORWALK, Conn.) - HOLLIS BAHRINGER, a leading manufacturer of contemporary metal men’s jewelry is proud to announce the release of six new collections to its assortment. Adding both natural white diamonds and black diamonds, this season’s additions bring an ultra premium selection to the already exc...

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ASHI introduces Lovebright Essentials

4 DAYS AGO
ASHI introduces Lovebright Essentials

Offers big look, great price on diamond basics

Studies have shown that basic styles account for as much as 50% of a jewelry store’s total sales. ​ASHI presents Lovebright Essentials, a new ​POS ​program focused on helping you showcase and sell more ​of these ​basic, fast turning, full margin styles​....

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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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