Business Report

Over the past decade, consolidation squeezed many sectors of the economy. Jewelry is no exception. According to the Jewelers Board of Trade, the 1990s saw a 21.1% decline in the number of manufacturers, a 5.6% decline in retailers, and a 1% drop in wholesalers. JBT president Nat Earle says mid-sized companies—both retailers and manufacturers—are being squeezed the most. Some have simply gone out of business, while many others have consolidated or have been acquired by larger firms that are growing ever larger. Membership in JBT has grown among smaller firms, as well. In fact, most new JBT members are small. “It’s the dog-bone effect,” he says, referring to industry shrinkage in the middle and growth at each end. Earle says mid-sized manufacturers are most at risk. Because these firms need sales forces, credit departments, business plans, human resources expertise, and so fo

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