Do We Need the Mall Jewelers?

Why hasn't the jewelry industry experienced the kind of consolidation that wiped out most other independent retailers? Why hasn't jewelry gone the way of hardware, books, appliances, and stationery, devolving into a national duopoly duking it out for market share? One could argue that books and stationery don't require a lot of specialized knowledge, and unless one is in the market for a restaurant-grade refrigerator, Consumer Reports eliminates the need to consult with a salesperson about the finer points of top-freezer vs. bottom-freezer models. Hardware does require specialized knowledge, but I daresay both Lowe's and Home Depot have done a far better job of training (or hiring) than have many of the jewelry chains. It isn't just small stores that have disappeared. Most of America's discount department stores also have died off. Remember E.J. Korvette? Two Guys? Bradlees? Caldor?

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