Will Jewelry Sales Sparkle in ’99?

After a roaring first half of 1998 in which U.S. jewelry sales jumped 9%, many jewelers and manufacturers noted an eerie autumn lull. The drop-off was attributed in part to the shocking stock market plunge, which drained $1.5 trillion in wealth from investors between July and October. Continued economic turmoil overseas may have also hurt sales. By November, however, Wall Street had largely recouped its earlier losses, and consumers appeared to approach the holidays with renewed confidence, ready to spend. What does 1999 portend? Interviews with dozens of jewelry retailers, manufacturers, consultants, association officials, Wall Street analysts, and bankers drew a consensus of cautious optimism. Minus another stock market swoon or calamity abroad, the call is for jewelry sales to grow 5% to 7% in 1999, at least through the first half of the year. Where the bulls roam. JCK’s 1999 fo

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