Fading Independents?

The year 2007 ended with retailing generally reporting mixed results, with many saying it was a poor year. Mall stores did not do nearly as well as last year. We also know that, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade, the number of jewelry operations in the United States is declining, as it has for many years, but more precipitously in the last couple of years. The trend is not unique to independent operations—those with one to a few stores. The mall business has seen some 50 names disappear over the last 20 years or so (I actually rummaged through some old files and came up with more than that), and we now see survivors like Zales struggling to find their footing. It would be simplistic to say that the disappearance of 600 or more operations last year was a sign of too much competition or the consolidation of the industry. We have seen consolidation in many retail channels (drug

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