Christmas Forecasts: Kind of Scary

Warning: This will not be a cheery post.

So the forecasts for what this holiday will bring are not so looking so hot.

Here is the International Council of Shopping Centers predicting that sales will only increase one percent this year. Neilsen is predicting only a .03 percent rise. And despite considerable talk the “Great Recession” has ended, there are several ominous omens, including falling consumer confidence and rising unemployment.

Keep in mind that, whatever happens with overall holiday sales, jewelry is its own entity.  Even if the holiday season comes out fine, the jewelry industry may not be able to take advantage of any sales gain. Last Christmas, jewelry did worse than other products, including products in the luxury sector.

I don’t want to wallow in negativity here. That doesn’t help anyone. Consumers still love jewelry, and many will buy it for Christmas. There has clearly been a boost in industry sentiment over the last few months, at least compared with the dark days of January through March. And there are some note-worthy things happening out there. Whatever one thinks of De Beers’ Everlon campaign, it’s a new idea, and, if it’s advertised enough, it should raise awareness of diamonds and jewelry in general. Sterling, whose “Jane Seymour” line was one of last year’s few bright spots, apparently has a new line (“Love’s Embrace”) this year too. Hopefully Zale’s hiring of Richard Lennox will mean some interesting ideas out if Dallas.

But this industry has had such a horrible year that it’s likely everyone is going to play it ultra-safe this holiday, cut back on advertising (which manufacturers never did much of what to begin with), and offer the same-old. Which, I fear, will only lead to the same old results.

What is everyone’s sense of this holiday?

JCK News Director