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CEO of Major Jewelry Chain to Retire; New Chief Named

The president and COO has been promoted.

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Ed Bridge and Lisa Bridge.

SEATTLE, WA – Ben Bridge Jeweler, which has 95 stores in 11 states and one Canadian province, announced that Chairman and CEO Ed Bridge is retiring effective Jan. 31, 2019.

Current President and Chief Operating Officer Lisa Bridge has accepted a promotion to president and CEO. Having served as the first female president of Ben Bridge Jeweler, Lisa Bridge will now continue her service as the fifth generation to run the company.

According to a press release from the company: “Upon retirement, Ed Bridge will leave behind a 45-year legacy of honor, leadership and achievement including serving as chair of Jewelers of America and Jewelers For Children, board member of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and the Jewelry Information Center, VP of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and chair of the Seattle Victims Fund, board member of both the University of Washington Hillel and Tyee Club.”

He has been the recipient of the AGS Lifetime Achievement Award and numerous other honors, including being inducted into the National Jeweler Retailer Hall of Fame, according to the release.

“It has been an honor and privilege working with our associates to create incredible moments and touch the lives of so many customers,” Ed Bridge said. “I cherish the relationships I have with our team and the treasured friendships with our many industry partners. I feel thankful to have had the best mentors and bosses one could ask for in my father Bob Bridge, my uncle Herb Bridge and Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO Warren Buffett. I had the pleasure of working with my cousin Jon Bridge as my partner for 28 years before he retired last year. It brings me great joy to know the company will be in such capable hands.

“Lisa will surely propel the business into its next phase and a bright future.”

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Lisa Bridge said: “I am endlessly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from Ed and the generations before me. They have been generous with their wisdom and perspective and will continue to be an inspiration. I am humbled to be stepping in to this role, and I am excited to build a bright future with our incredible team. My mission as CEO is to help our customers celebrate wonderfully meaningful and joyful moments in their lives through the power of jewelry.”

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

They even stole repair items.

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Burglars cut through the roof of a jewelry store in Laguna Niguel, CA, and took “all items in the store, including repair pieces,” the Jewelers’ Security Alliance reports.

KCAL-TV identfied the business as Nuggets and Carats Jewelry Store.

According to JSA, the burglars “cut through the roof, used a rope to lower themselves in, and cut into the safe.”

They also “removed another safe from the store, which was dragged out a back door into a parking lot.”

The crime took place on the evening of March 23.

JSA states that it has seen a nationwide uptick in the number of reports of burglaries involving rooftop entry or cutting through sidewalls, with some involving cutting alarm wires.

According to KCAL, store owner Brian Hassine said of the safe: “It’s a 6-inch deep safe. It’s got a plate on the outside that needed to be cut with some type of a laser or saw, and they had to cut away at the concrete, and then another plate they had to go through.”

Find out more at KCAL-TV

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100 US Jewelry Retailers Closed in the First Quarter

The rate of closings slowed considerably.

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The Jewelers Board of Trade reported that 100 U.S. jewelry retailers closed their doors in the first quarter of 2019.

That number represented a decrease from 282 closings in the first quarter of 2018.

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The total included 73 retailers in the category of “ceased operations” as well as 22 “consolidations (sale/merger)” and five bankruptcies.

The total number of U.S. jewelry businesses that closed, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, was 125. That was a decrease from 343 in the first quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, JBT reported that 48 new retailers opened their doors in the U.S., up from 45 in the first quarter of 2018.

The total number of new jewelry businesses, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, was 57. That was down from 62 new businesses in the year-ago quarter.

JBT listed a total of 18,920 jewelry retailers in the U.S. as of the first quarter of 2019, down from 19,554 in the same quarter a year ago.

The group listed 25,037 jewelry businesses in all, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. That was down from 25,898 in the first quarter of 2018.

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Forevermark Names CEO

She’s stepping up from the role of COO.

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Forevermark has announced that Nancy Liu will become its CEO, stepping up from her current role as chief operating officer.

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Liu said: “At Forevermark we’ve come a very long way in a very short space of time, yet we believe the future will be even more exciting. The brand has taken a number of bold steps in recent years, and the positive consumer response to these show that there’s a real resonance with our approach. As we continue to develop consumer concepts, campaigns, products and designs, Forevermark will play a vital role in the diamond ecosystem for diamantaires, designers, jewelers and consumers, and I’m delighted I’ll be leading the business as it writes its next chapter.”

Nancy Liu

Liu has served as Forevermark’s president of Asia Pacific for 11 years, and she was responsible for overseeing the brand’s global launch in China.

She was appointed COO of Forevermark and member of the De Beers Executive Committee in August 2017.

Prior to her tenure at Forevermark, Liu specialized in corporate management at The Boston Consulting Group, consulting global luxury brands with the aim to develop their businesses in China. Previously, Liu was the vice president of merchandising at Louis Vuitton Asia Pacific, servicing Louis Vuitton across 14 countries, and general manager for the LVMH Watch and Jewelry division managing TAG Heuer, Zenith, Dior, Ebel, Chaumet and Fendi.

Stephen Lussier, executive vice president of consumer and brands for De Beers Group, will continue to oversee the strategic role Forevermark plays within the Group’s brand portfolio as Forevermark chairman. By stepping away from the day-to-day accountability for Forevermark, Lussier will be able to increase his focus on shaping De Beers Group’s strategy at the consumer level.

Lussier said: “This is a moment of great opportunity for diamonds. As symbols of nature, uniqueness and positive social impact, they have huge potential to inspire consumers of all ages, and with a new CEO at the helm for Forevermark I will be able to spend more time ensuring we build even stronger consumer connections with these miracles of nature across all our activities.

“Fortunately, we have an outstanding candidate to take over as CEO of Forevermark. As the brand sees rapid growth in Asia, Nancy’s exceptional expertise and knowledge of the region provide us with excellent continuity as Forevermark goes from strength to strength.”

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