Jewelry Industry Shrinkage Picks Up Steam, Says JBT

The Jewelers Board of Trade’s (JBT) most recent statistics show that the jewelry industry has not stopped shrinking—and the ongoing consolidation process has even picked up a little bit of steam.

This marks something of a shift from other statistics compiled by the Providence, R.I.–based credit-rating group, which generally found that industry consolidation was starting to slow.

In the third quarter of 2019, 296 North American jewelry businesses discontinued operations, which breaks down to 237 retailers, 35 wholesalers, and 24 manufacturers.

By contrast, 237 North American jewelry businesses discontinued operations in the third quarter of 2018.

Year to date, discontinuances are still down more than 20%, to 626, from 848 in the first three quarters last year.

All but 10 of the third-quarter discontinuances are in the United States; the rest are in Canada. (A discontinuance, as defined by JBT, means that a business has either ceased operations, consolidated and merged, or filed for bankruptcy.)

Experts caution not to assume these closures signal that the jewelry industry isn’t doing well. In many cases, the closures reflect older store owners who simply don’t want to continue their business.

The most recent government statistics show an uptick in jewelry sales over the summer.

The JBT also recorded 63 new North American businesses entering the industry in the third quarter: 57 retailers, four wholesalers, and two manufacturers. Two of those businesses are in Canada; the rest are in the United States.

That’s up a bit from the 54 new businesses that joined JBT in the third quarter of last year. Overall, the number of new JBT listings is flat for the year. In 2019, 190 new companies registered with the group; last year, 190 did.

Generally, though, JBT’s stats still show an industry that is continuing to lose members.

At the end of the third quarter of 2019, JBT listed 26,092 jewelry businesses in North America, including 24,795 in the United States. That number includes 19,738 retailers (U.S. number: 18,780), 3,777 wholesalers (U.S. number: 3,566), and 2,577 manufacturers (U.S. number: 2,449).

That means JBT’s official tally has shrunk by 743 companies, or 2.8%, over the last year.

(Logo courtesy of the Jewelers Board of Trade)

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine

JCK News Director