The Jewelry Industry Is Still Shrinking, But Less So

The Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) numbers for the second quarter of 2019 show that the traditional jewelry industry continues to shrink, even if it’s not consolidating at the quick rate that it did in prior years.

In its most recent industry statistics, the Providence, R.I.–based credit-rating group found that industry consolidation had picked up a bit compared to the first quarter of the year, when it looked like industry numbers were beginning to stabilize.

During the second quarter of 2019, 189 North American jewelry companies discontinued operations, which breaks down to 139 retailers, 36 wholesalers, and 14 manufacturers.

The good news is that the discontinuance number is down 42% from the second quarter of 2018, when a whopping 324 businesses fell into that category. However, the number has risen a bit from the 135 discontinuances JBT logged in the first quarter of the year.

All but four of the 2019 second-quarter discontinuances are from the United States; the other four occurred in Canada.

JBT uses discontinuance as a catchall term that encompasses businesses that ceased operations, consolidated and merged, and filed for bankruptcy.

The JBT also registered 70 new North American businesses entering the industry in the first quarter. That’s slightly down from second quarter of 2018, when the JBT logged 73 new businesses, but up from the first quarter of 2019, when it logged 57 new companies.

Those 70 new businesses include 58 retailers, nine wholesalers, and three manufacturers. All the new businesses are located in the United States, save two Canadian retailers.

All of which means that, in the second quarter, the industry showed a net loss of around 129 jewelry businesses. That’s worse than the first quarter, when there was a net loss of only 78 businesses, though it remains a considerable improvement over prior years.

At the end of the second quarter of 2019, JBT listed 26,252 jewelry businesses in North America, the U.S. total of which was 24,966. That number includes 19,842 retailers (U.S. number: 18,893), 3,807 wholesalers (U.S. number: 3,598), and 2,603 manufacturers (U.S. number: 2,475).

That means JBT’s official tally has shrunk by 657 companies, or 2.4%, over the last year.

(Logo courtesy of the Jewelers Board of Trade)

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JCK News Director