Year Of Uncertainty

By: George Holmes First reports from jewelers about December business were mixed. Some did very well; some did poorly. Those in between had a ho-hum sort of season. In general, the real winners were stores that concentrate on the upper end of the market. The jewelry consensus reflects that of retailing as a whole; it wasn't a great season. There were some fairly obvious reasons. Continuing, ruthless corporate layoffs have scared even those with secure jobs, while playing havoc with the lives and fortunes of thousands of typical jewelry-store customers. Consumer debt is high. And a rebellious Congress, out to have its will at any apparent cost, threw the whole process of government into disarray. Given this combination of circumstances, it's not surprising that the U.S. citizenry is in a troubled, almost fearful, mood. Such a mood spells caution in most things, especially in spendin

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