Strong for Luxury Jewelers, Moderate for Middle and Mass

High-end jewelers polled by JCK reported slight to significant increases in holiday sales for 2004, while sales gains for midlevel and mass-market stores were more modest overall—and a few declines were noted by jewelers in regions hard hit by job losses. Jewelers in all sectors also reported fewer customers but higher per-ticket sales. In the luxury sector, most jewelers JCK spoke to claimed double-digit gains over last year's holiday sales, although the level of those increases varied from just over 10 percent to more than 30 percent. No single product category, beyond the ubiquitous round brilliant diamond stud earring, earned "best-seller" status, but designer and branded merchandise earned honorable mentions. From Rolex, which sold well at Rasmussen Jewelers in Racine, Wis., to John Hardy, which was among the strongest brands at Cornell's Jewelers in Rochester, N.Y., upscale con

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