Business Forecast: Jewelers Remain Cautions About The Road Ahead

More independent jewelers seem to be slipping back to the caution and uncertainty that characterized the early 1990s, according to the 1996 edition of JCK's midyear business outlook poll. Two out of three retail jewelers expect higher sales and half expect higher profits. But that's down about 10% from the two previous years. Jewelers also are less certain about their customers. Thirty-eight percent say consumer confidence is fair or poor now, more than double the 15% who said so in 1994. The caution reflects the uncertainty and wait-and-see attitude that many financial analysts had about the economy in late spring. Let's face it. Christmas was tough; even those who did well had to work harder. And after Christmas, retailers had to contend with the effects of heavy consumer debt, continuing corporate downsizing and unusually bad winter weather. For example, Friedman's Inc., the thi

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