50% of jewelers ordered less stock in April.
American jewelers turned slightly more cautious as we moved into May, with the INSTORE Jewelers’ Confidence Index falling to a neutral reading of 50. This was the lowest reading for the JCI since November, when amid all the uncertainty created by the countdown to the election it fell to just 45. A score below 50 indicates jewelers are more bearish than bullish.
In our most recent survey, 37 percent of the 230 independent jewelers polled said the prospects for their businesses had improved in April compared to 17 percent who said they'd deteriorated, while the rest said they remained the same. Despite this fairly positive assessment, 50 percent of the jewelers said they had ordered less stock in April compared to the same month last year, while 23 percent had ordered more. Those two factors – outlook and actual orders – form the basis of our index.
It was interesting to note that another question we asked of our survey group, about their sales in April, showed an even split between those who said they had contracted or improved on a year-on-year basis: 42 percent reported their sales were Up or Way Up, and 41 percent said they were Down or way down. This also marks a slightly negative turn from generally more positive results over the last few years.
U.S. jewelers have become slightly more cautious.