Number of Jewelry Stores Drops

Since 1997, the entire jewelry industry has seen a 9.8% drop in the number of jewelry-only stores, according to Jewelers Board of Trade statistics. JBT president Dione Kenyon says there has been a 10% drop since 1993, when "roughly 27,600 jewelers were in business." Contributing to the decline is the impact of new and more powerful channels of distribution, such as TV-based home shopping networks, and large retailers such as Wal-Mart who are "just more efficient at buying." But there is a place for independent retailers. Shoppers who want a more intimate buying experience or high-end designer merchandise still look to independent or guild stores. "Stores in the middle might have the hardest time [operating] because they're not small enough to be intimate and not big enough to buy efficiently," explains Kenyon. An even more alarming statistic is the rate of new business formation, w

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