The Coming Decade: Golden Times Ahead?

Jewelry sales in the first decade of the new millennium will nearly double, growing at least 7% annually during the next five years and reaching a cumulative growth rate of 197% by 2010. That’s the upbeat prediction of Ken Gassman Jr., a retail stock analyst with Davenport & Co., Richmond, Va., who follows the stock of 20 jewelry chains. His forecast is based on jewelry sales tracked by the U.S. Department of Commerce; that is, jewelry sales at jewelry stores only. The launching pad for that growth is a strong economy. The nation has enjoyed the longest peacetime expansion in history, which will become the longest expansion ever if it lasts through January. Unemployment has reached 29-year lows, and household income growth has accelerated. Demographic trends also favor jewelers’ prospects. The 77 million members of the Baby Boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964) reach t

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