Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) statistics show that 932 North American jewelry businesses discontinued operations in 2019—a 12.4% drop from 2018, when more than 1,000 businesses discontinued operations.
Of the 932 discontinuances, 746 were retailers, 113 were wholesalers, and 73 were manufacturers.
The discontinuances were mostly in the United States; 32 were in Canada.
JBT defines a discontinuance as a business closing its doors, filing for bankruptcy, or merging or being acquired.
In the first half of 2019, JBT statistics seemed to indicate that the rate of industry consolidation was starting to ebb. However, consolidation picked up in the latter half of the year—and in the fourth quarter, the number of discontinuances showed a dramatic spike upward, to 324, from 185 in 2018.
JBT also logged 233 new businesses last year—198 retailers, 26 wholesalers, and nine manufacturers. That’s a marginal (1.3%) increase from last year, when the credit group registered 230 new businesses. Five of those new businesses—all retailers—were located in Canada; the rest were in the United States.
Overall, though, the JBT’s statistics show that the industry is still seeing the herd thin, as it has for the last decade.
At the end of 2019, JBT listed 25,870 jewelry businesses in North America, which breaks down to 24,565 in the United States, and 1,305 in Canada. The North American total includes 19,578 retailers (U.S. number: 18,613), 3,747 wholesalers (U.S. number: 3,534), and 2,545 manufacturers (U.S. number: 2,418).
At the end of 2018, the group’s official tally numbered 26,707 North American jewelry businesses—which means its roster shrunk by 837 companies, or 3.1%, over 2019.
In 2014, the end-of-year number stood at 30,155—which means the jewelry industry in North America has lost about 5,000 businesses in the last five years.
A lot of times these closures aren’t necessarily the result of bad business, but the owner’s decision to retire—as shown in JCK’s 2019 roll call of store closings. However, U.S. government statistics showed a drop in jewelry store sales in November.
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