Another Quarter, Another 300 Jewelers Close

But the JBT says consolidation offers opportunities for jewelers that remain

The jewelry industry is continuing to consolidate, with 334 more North American jewelers discontinuing operations during the third quarter, according to the latest statistics from the Jewelers Board of Trade.

That’s an increase from third quarter last year, when a still-substantial 277 North American jewelers closed. It brings the total number to 981 for the year to date.

In addition, 64 wholesalers and 28 manufacturers ceased operations—meaning there were 426 jewelry-related business discontinuances in North America during the quarter. Included in that number are 16 consolidations (sales/mergers) and 10 bankruptcies.

While those numbers seem grim, JBT president Anthony Capuano doesn’t see the overall trend letting up anytime soon.

“I’m not surprised,” he says of the consolidations. “There are still well over 20,000 jewelry retailers in the United States. I don’t know what the right number is, but it clearly is below what it is now.

“The consolidation that we have seen in many other industries hasn’t spared jewelry,” he adds. “It’s just taken a little longer.”

He doesn’t believe that last week’s election results will affect the ongoing trend, pro or con.

“Couples in their 60s deciding to retire, competition from large chains, the Internet—those are much more important factors,” he says.

But, he adds, this consolidation presents opportunities for retailers that remain, as there are fewer competitors.

“If someone is inclined to go to a small independent or a small chain, there are fewer of them,” he says. “If there were four jewelry stores in town, now there are three.”

The JBT recorded 65 new jewelry businesses in North America this quarter, down from 74 last year.

JBT currently lists 28,370 jewelry businesses in North America, down 4.8 percent from last year.  That shakes out to 21,292 retailers, 4,181 wholesalers, and 2,897 manufacturers.  

JCK News Director