Over 200 Jewelry Businesses Closed Last Quarter

Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) stats for the third quarter of 2017 indicate the industry is continuing to consolidate. The good news is the rate of closures has slowed considerably.

The organization’s numbers show that, during the most recent quarter, 236 North American jewelry businesses discontinued operations—meaning they closed, were merged or acquired, or went bankrupt. That’s a 40 percent drop from the whopping 426 businesses that closed in the same quarter in 2016.

This is the third consecutive quarter the rate of closures has fallen.

Even so, the overall picture is of an industry that’s been shrinking for some time and continues to. At the end of this year’s third quarter, the JBT recorded 27,492 businesses operating. That’s down from last year’s 28,743,

In the third quarter, 40 companies entered the industry, JBT said. That number is also down from last year when 63 new businesses joined the industry.

Acting president Richard Weisenfeld says he expects the consolidation trend to continue.

“The fact remains that there are a lot of stores that are not in bad shape but there is no second generation to step in,” he says.

(Image from Wikipedia)

JCK News Director


  • Jim Adair

    in conjunction with the last sentence would be numbers that break down store ownership by age. I am willing to bet in the next 5 years half the jewelry stores close due to age of owners.

    • Ann

      …and those owners are not necessarily ready to leave the job force,,,what’s next for them?

    • Patrick Slavenburg

      Exactly.

  • Fiona Z.

    Did you see that more online store opened?

  • Patrick Slavenburg

    This slowdown in closures is not the end. It’s a temporary dip. In fact the consolidation phase has barely started. Jim Adair rightly commented: aging happens in cohorts. Whether it’s 65 or 70 or 75: at some point massive numbers of jewelry business owners will quit at the same time. That’s not visible in extrapolations from past months or years.

    There’s another problem: supply chains being disrupted. The impact of the diamond industry on retail or the rest of jewelry industry is not taken into consideration. Since 2008 and the Eurocrisis banks face much tighter regulation, lower risk appetite. Traditional financeers (banks) are even taking losses to leave the diamond industry – or confiscating 100s of millions in inventory. Combined with high rough, lower cut stone prices it’s a huge impact.

    Other disruptions come from the bottom up in a very traditional disruption pattern: cheap fashion jewelry looked awful 20 years ago, better 10 years ago and sometimes really good now. At a fraction of the price. Synthetics, alternatives etc etc all disrupt from the bottom up.

    Disruption from the outside in: wearables. Never intended to disrupt jewelry (but fitness, healthcare) the market is growing and already disrupting the watch industry as much as digital watches did in the 1970’s.

  • Sarah

    It is nice that fewer jewelry stores are closing –I think, maybe? But why the stores that have closed are closing is a bigger question. Is it changes in retail buying patterns? Less disposable income? More disposable income being spent on other things? (I’m a sober thirty-something who lives in what is generally considered an “affluent” area but I know a lot of people with fairly good incomes who basically have no disposable income –primarily because they are disposing of it on legal and illegal narcotics. A lot of Californians’ weekly weed habits multiplied by the number of weeks in the year could easily be the equivalent of a diamond line bracelet and 3 Rolexes. Every year.) Retailers who have gotten tired after a decade or so of trying to keep a stiff upper-lip through iffy retail times?

  • Paul

    After 34 plus years in the gem industry, I am seeing many of my clients starting to do well again. And, there are some new stores opening that are operated by “Millennials”. They all know how to market through social media, do cad, bridal and custom, while selling color as the newer buyers have none. The market reminds me of the mid 80’s when the jewelry business went into the downspin and the new buyers came in. To me, this is one of the most exciting times for the industry, a way to open to a broader market, and a market that has no jewelry or little jewelry. Plus with new sources of stones, there will be more opportunity.

    I wish the trade would start to focus on the positive rather than the same old story of doom and gloom.

  • Richard Washak Jr

    I’m In south fla. and have personally seen 7 competitors close their doors in the past 10 years, so that would be good for me right… wrong… no significant increase in biz that i noticed, and staying in biz is a real challenge in a seasonal area.