04272015Mon
Last updateWed, 01 Apr 2015 12am
NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

North Carolina and South Carolina jewelers will re...

Four generations and 115 years of Waller & Company Jewelers

Four generations and 115 years of Waller & Company Jewelers

One of the oldest African American retailers in th...

Cause for celebration - Atlanta Jewelry Show 65th anniversary edition

Cause for celebration - Atlanta Jewelry Show 65th anniversary edition

(ATLANTA) - Buoyed by strong Christmas and Valentin...

Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku, makers of an exclusive collection of watche...

Rembrandt Charms® debuts new charm just in time for Mother’s Day

Rembrandt Charms® debuts new charm just in time for Mother’s Day

(WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.) - Rembrandt Charms debuts its...

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Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

The 2015 edition of the Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength Tour will be held for Thursday, May 28, 2015 in Las Vegas. This will be the third inst...

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Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - The Southern Gates® 2015 Spring Collection is now available from The Cargo Hold, Inc. The 2015 Spring Collection includes more tha...

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Featured Articles

From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

With Millennials marrying in record numbers, “something old” includes more than a handed down wedding dress. Ernest Perry, owner of Perry’s Fine Antiq...

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Latest News

Hoover & Strong reports Fairmined Gold gaining new ground in the U.S.

26 DAYS AGO
Hoover & Strong reports Fairmined Gold gaining new ground in the U.S.

In the Peruvian desert, lies a small gold mining town by the name of Relave. Families here have depended on small-scale mining since the 1980s when economic hardship and conflict drove numerous families to settle as informal miners. Starting out without basic infrastructure, they worked the tailings...

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JA offering Members Scholarships

26 DAYS AGO

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, funds scholarships for members on renowned industry diploma, professional development and certification programs. JA awards scholarships during the enrollment period from Februar...

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NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

26 DAYS AGO
NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

North Carolina and South Carolina jewelers will return to “horse around” together May 15-17 at the Marriott Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, SC.  The same dates as Triple Crown horse race Preakness Weekend!  The North Carolina Jewelers Association and the South Carolina Jewelers Association are togethe...

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Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

26 DAYS AGO
Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

The 2015 edition of the Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength Tour will be held for Thursday, May 28, 2015 in Las Vegas. This will be the third installment of the popular event. Start time will be at 5:30 a.m. outside the tour bus entrance at the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino.  Participants will be a...

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Chris Glaser forms CAD/CAM consultancy

26 DAYS AGO
Chris Glaser forms CAD/CAM consultancy

Chris Glaser is proud to announce the formation of his new company, Glaser Cad Cam Advisers, LLC. The new company began operation in February serving both retail and manufacturing jewelers’ CAD/CAM needs, providing revolutionary design software, EnvisionTec 3D Printing solutions and state-of-the-art...

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Jewel-Craft, Inc. announces acquisition of LogoArt®

26 DAYS AGO
Jewel-Craft, Inc. announces acquisition of LogoArt®

(ERLANGER, Ky.) - Jewel-Craft, Inc. announced it has officially acquired the thriving licensed jewelry manufacturer, LogoArt®, returning the brand to its original birthplace. The family-owned and operated full-service jewelry repair and manufacturing trade shop enters the licensed jewelry market with...

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Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

26 DAYS AGO
Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - The Southern Gates® 2015 Spring Collection is now available from The Cargo Hold, Inc. The 2015 Spring Collection includes more than twenty new sterling silver items inspired by the historic wrought iron gates found throughout legendary gardens and courtyards.

The new Spring Collec...

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Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

26 DAYS AGO
Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku, makers of an exclusive collection of watches with a focus on simple, serene design, is pleased to introduce new styles for Spring/Summer 2015. Included are new styles in men’s watches with Super Luminous indexes and fully open designed dials in various sunray colors, including navy blue, gunm...

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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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