Do the Math, Part 2

Having just completed the summer show season, I have an impression of significant concern in the jewelry community, if not a whiff of desperation. In talking to some of the brightest people in the industry, it's clear that, collectively, they are no longer able to ignore the elephant sitting in the corner of the room, with the word “margin” written on it. One has only to read the trades to know that some of our largest retail chains are struggling just to keep many of their doors open, because margins are too thin to support the expense of real estate, large inventories, and the other costs of doing business. At the same time, manufacturers are diversifying and diffusing (watering down) their best-selling lines and adding new distribution points to an overinventoried, overstored market just to maintain sales volume levels and keep their factories busy. That leads us to question
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