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Jewelers Helping Jewelers

Jewelers Helping Jewelers

The Southern Jewelers Guild takes a look at the exp...

Greg Lynn discovers art in the midst of struggle

Greg Lynn discovers art in the midst of struggle

When Greg Lynn’s parents were transferred from Nor...

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

 

(NEW YORK) - After receiving a “fantastic response...

Retailer Roundtable: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?

Retailer Roundtable: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?

Q: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?  

“...

How will Trump’s election affect retail jewelers?

How will Trump’s election affect retail jewelers?

President-elect Donald Trump has been in the publi...

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Citizen Watch Company announces newly integrated company – Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc

Citizen Watch Company announces newly integrated company – Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc

(NEW YORK) - Citizen Watch Company, Ltd., parent of Bulova Corporation and Citizen Watch Company of America has completed the integration of the two companies into one organization, Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. The company will do business i...

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Industry Events

GIA’s colorful lineup at Tucson 2017 Gem Shows

GIA’s colorful lineup at Tucson 2017 Gem Shows

Alumni party, colored stone services, unique exhibits, expert talks and more

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA’s not-to-miss activities and services will enrich the visitor experience at the 2017 Tucson Shows, including an out-of-this-world alumni event, show s...

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On The Move

JA announces 2017 GEM Awards winners

JA announces 2017 GEM Awards winners

Jim Rosenheim receives Lifetime Achievement and Grace Fuller, Kay® Jewelers, Lucia Silvestri for BVLGARI and Patek Philippe win

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, h...

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What's New

New and unique, Love Universe hits the market with broad appeal

New and unique, Love Universe hits the market with broad appeal

Voyager Brands’ new line targets customers from teens to grandmothers

(AUSTIN, Tex.) - Something new, different, random, abstract - that’s Voyager Brands’ new Love Universe collection of earrings, rings, pendants, small necklaces and bracelets. It’s fu...

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Featured Articles

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

There are many paths to finding the right career. Most are predictable, but sometimes the path becomes clear only through adversity. Richard Branson, whose net worth of $4.9 billion makes him nearly 10 times wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II, dropped...

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Latest News

Citizen Watch Company announces newly integrated company – Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc

5 DAYS AGO
Citizen Watch Company announces newly integrated company – Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc

(NEW YORK) - Citizen Watch Company, Ltd., parent of Bulova Corporation and Citizen Watch Company of America has completed the integration of the two companies into one organization, Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. The company will do business in the Trade as Citizen Watch America.

Readmore

Jewelers of Louisiana opens application for funds to benefit jewelers impacted by Louisiana floods

5 DAYS AGO
Jewelers of Louisiana opens application for funds to benefit jewelers impacted by Louisiana floods

(NEW ORLEANS) - Over 100 people employed in the jewelry industry were impacted by the August floods in South Louisiana. Jewelers of Louisiana, a statewide organization representing over 1,500 employees, has established a fund to help anyone in the jewelry industry affected by the floods. Over $3,700 ...

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GIA’s colorful lineup at Tucson 2017 Gem Shows

5 DAYS AGO
GIA’s colorful lineup at Tucson 2017 Gem Shows

Alumni party, colored stone services, unique exhibits, expert talks and more

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA’s not-to-miss activities and services will enrich the visitor experience at the 2017 Tucson Shows, including an out-of-this-world alumni event, show service laboratory, fascinating exhibits, expert ta...

Readmore

Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

19 DAYS AGO
Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai government has extended an invitation for U.S. jewelers to visit the upcoming 59th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2017. The Fair will be held February 22-26, 2017 at the IMPACT Exhibition & Conven...

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JA announces 2017 GEM Awards winners

5 DAYS AGO
JA announces 2017 GEM Awards winners

Jim Rosenheim receives Lifetime Achievement and Grace Fuller, Kay® Jewelers, Lucia Silvestri for BVLGARI and Patek Philippe win

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, held their 15th annual GEM Awards on Friday, Januar...

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Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

11 DAYS AGO
Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

Company designated as a top-level WellSpot

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller is proud to announce that they have been named a level one WellSpot by Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health.

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New and unique, Love Universe hits the market with broad appeal

5 DAYS AGO
New and unique, Love Universe hits the market with broad appeal

Voyager Brands’ new line targets customers from teens to grandmothers

(AUSTIN, Tex.) - Something new, different, random, abstract - that’s Voyager Brands’ new Love Universe collection of earrings, rings, pendants, small necklaces and bracelets. It’s fun and enticing to women of all ages.

Retail prices ...

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MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

11 DAYS AGO
MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

MJSA, a trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has introduced the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers as part of a wide-ranging program to advance the art and consumer appreciation of custom jewelry design.

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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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