A JEWEL of a YULE for ’96Jewelry was a strong seller this Christmas season, though overall sales were softer than most retailers expected.U.S. retailers across all product categories expected Christmas ’96 to be a success, based on a generally strong economy and high consumer confidence levels. However, retailers overall reported only modest gains over Christmas 1995 as debt loads kept consumer spending on the conservative side.Jewelry was one of the bright spots in the holiday shopping season. A JCK poll of jewelers across the nation found most were pleased with their holiday sales. In fact, many reported gains of more than 14%.Some jewelers, such as Norman Turgeon of Turgeon & Raine Jewelers in Seattle, Wash., said that even though holiday gains were lower than expected, sales growth for the year as a whole was still good. Conversely, jewelers such as Nick Greve of Carl Greve J

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