The State of the Business

The only way to describe the state of the business at this point is to use words like worry, concern, and yet hopeful. It seems there is nothing on the industry scoreboard that provides much of anything positive. The Whitehall story, rumors of other Chapter 11s to come, and activity at trade fairs showing reduced results from prior years have everyone concerned. If there is any bright light in the jewelry business now it's the better stores group. These seem to be doing well compared with national chains and department stores. Over the past few weeks, in New York at the JA Show and in Philadelphia at the IJO Show, the better stores are reporting decent sales activity. They admit they're not setting sales records or gaining significant increases, but they are meeting last year's numbers plus some. The obvious answer to this segment's success is that they deal with upscale consumers
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