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Last updateWed, 24 May 2017 2pm
Retailer Roundtable: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to Vegas?

Retailer Roundtable: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to Vegas?

Q: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to...

GIA’s M2M app helps retailers tell a diamond’s story

GIA’s M2M app helps retailers tell a diamond’s story

As the creator of the 4Cs, GIA (Gemological Instit...

JCK Vendor/Supplier Roundtable

JCK Vendor/Supplier Roundtable

This month rather than our usual Retailer Roundtab...

Other News

IDEX reports De Beers to auction polished diamonds made from its own rough

IDEX reports De Beers to auction polished diamonds made from its own rough

(IDEX Online) – De Beers' Auction Sales business will pilot the sale of its own polished diamonds using auctions for the first time. The sale will comprise a wide range of polished stones manufactured directly from its rough diamonds.

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Industry Events

Dates announced for 2017 ACE It Conference

Dates announced for 2017 ACE It Conference

Appraisers Continuing Education

The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) announces its 48th Annual Mid Year ACE© It Education Conference to be held in Indianapolis, IN on August 12 - 15, 2017. 

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On The Move

Rio Grande announces winners of the 17th Annual Saul Bell Design Award

Rio Grande announces winners of the 17th Annual Saul Bell Design Award

At a celebration dinner held on May 21 during the Santa Fe Symposium® in Albuquerque, NM, Rio Grande announced the winners of the 17th annual Saul Bell Design Award competition. Through rigorous judging, two panels of experts chose first- and second-...

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Featured Articles

Voyager Brands up and running with bright ideas, creative new brands

Voyager Brands up and running with bright ideas, creative new brands

When Shreyansh Shah arrived from India, he was looking forward to seeing a little snow. He got more than he bargained for - and he was delighted.

“I came to the United States in December 1998 and was welcomed by 2 feet of snow in Chicago,” says Shah, ...

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Latest News

IDEX reports De Beers to auction polished diamonds made from its own rough

1 HOUR AGO
IDEX reports De Beers to auction polished diamonds made from its own rough

(IDEX Online) – De Beers' Auction Sales business will pilot the sale of its own polished diamonds using auctions for the first time. The sale will comprise a wide range of polished stones manufactured directly from its rough diamonds.

Readmore

Ring bought at flea market turns out to be 26+ carat diamond

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Ring bought at flea market turns out to be 26+ carat diamond

One lucky lady snagged the deal of a lifetime over 30 years ago when she purchased what she thought was merely a fun cocktail ring, but what turned out to be a diamond worth more than $450,000.

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Dates announced for 2017 ACE It Conference

1 HOUR AGO
Dates announced for 2017 ACE It Conference

Appraisers Continuing Education

The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) announces its 48th Annual Mid Year ACE© It Education Conference to be held in Indianapolis, IN on August 12 - 15, 2017. 

Readmore

Jewelers of America to host Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill

1 HOUR AGO
Jewelers of America to host Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill

Dinner & Forum will be part of the association’s annual advocacy visit

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA) has announced it will host a Dinner & Legislative Forum on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at the prestigious Army & Navy Club in Washington, D.C. The event - open to both JA Members and non...

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Rio Grande announces winners of the 17th Annual Saul Bell Design Award

1 HOUR AGO
Rio Grande announces winners of the 17th Annual Saul Bell Design Award

At a celebration dinner held on May 21 during the Santa Fe Symposium® in Albuquerque, NM, Rio Grande announced the winners of the 17th annual Saul Bell Design Award competition. Through rigorous judging, two panels of experts chose first- and second-place winners in each of eight competitive categor...

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Finalists and judges announced for 2017 Saul Bell Design Awards

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Finalists and judges announced for 2017 Saul Bell Design Awards

Rio Grande, the organizer of the Saul Bell Design Awards ( www.saulbellaward.com ), is pleased to announce the finalists of the 17th annual international jewelry-making and hollowware competition, as well as the two panels of experts tasked with judging the finalists’ work.

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Gesswein introduces Formlab Form 2 desktop printer

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Gesswein introduces Formlab Form 2 desktop printer

Gesswein, supplier of precision tools and equipment for over 100 years, is pleased to introduce the Formlab Form 2, an affordable desktop printer suitable for every bench.

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Hoover & Strong introduces certified lab grown diamond selection

7 DAYS AGO
Hoover & Strong introduces certified lab grown diamond selection

Hoover & Strong has announced the addition of certified lab grown diamonds to their product selection.

“Hoover & Strong continues to lead the ethical jewelry movement with its newest addition of Harmony Lab Grown Diamonds. We have always felt that lab grown diamonds are the ultimate ethical a...

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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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