Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) statistics for the second quarter of 2018 showed a noticeable spike in companies entering the jewelry industry—even as business discontinuances remained flat with last year.
Some 73 companies opened up new jewelry businesses in North America in the second quarter. That’s up 77 percent from the second quarter of 2017, when only 29 companies entered the industry. That continues a trend from this year’s first quarter, when the number of new businesses also rose.
The new-business number breaks down to 65 new retailers, six wholesalers, and two manufacturers. All but two of those companies were in the United States, and both Canadian companies were retailers.
Even so, the JBT found that there are still more companies leaving the jewelry industry than coming into it, continuing the trend of the last several years. In the second quarter of 2018, JBT recorded 244 jewelry business discontinuances in North America (234 in the United States, 10 in Canada). That’s almost exactly on par with the 245 discontinuances recorded in last year’s second quarter.
The 244 second-quarter discontinuances were comprised of 197 companies that ceased operations, 43 that consolidated, and four that filed for bankruptcy. The affected companies included 205 retailers, 30 wholesalers, and nine manufacturers.
Overall, the JBT’s numbers showed that the jewelry industry is continuing to shrink, if perhaps not as dramatically as in years past. The Providence, R.I.–based credit group now lists 26,743 companies in its North America database. That’s down 4.3 percent from the 27,935 listed at this time last year.
In the United States, the group lists 25,484 jewelry companies, a 4.5 percent drop from last year. That breaks down to 19,270 retailers, 3,675 wholesalers, and 2,539 manufacturers.
JBT president Richard Weisenfeld tells JCK that one reason that listings have fallen is “we are seeing a lot of people getting out of full-time retail and going into part-time specialty shops.”
He does expect the business to continue to contract.
“In the end, that will make the industry healthier. A lot of the closings are marginal stores and retirees.”
That said, he’s noticed an uptick in trade sentiment over the last year. Many jewelers had a good holiday in 2017, and the results from trade shows like JCK Las Vegas have so far been encouraging, he says.
“People no longer go to Las Vegas for holiday, they go to really shop the show,” he says. “That’s a good trend”
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