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Jewelers’ Confidence Levels Climb to Year-High Levels

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It continued an upward march.

The INSTORE Jewelers Confidence Index ticked higher in early May, reaching its strongest level of the year as jewelers showed increasing bullishness about the prospects for the rest of 2018. 

Since a post-holiday season dip in January, the JCI has marched higher every month, reaching 58 this month against a backdrop of ongoing economic strength, falling joblessness, and rising consumer spending. 

According to our most recent Brain Squad survey, almost 40 percent of jewelers believe the short-term outlook for their stores had improved in the last month compared to 7 percent who said it had deteriorated. The rest said that conditions were basically unchanged. Meanwhile, 24 percent said they had ordered more stock in April compared to the same period in 2017. While that was only half the number who said they had ordered less stock (48 percent), it marks an improvement from the early part of the year when the portion of jewelers planning expanded inventory buys fell to as low as 17 percent. It is these two elements – outlook and orders — that make up the JCI.

In terms of actual store performance, 47 percent said their sales were up over May 2017 while 26 percent said they were down. That marks a slight drop from the previous month, when 50 percent of jewelers said their sales were up, and 22 percent said they’d declined.

Our most recent Brain Squad survey, taken from May 1 to 11, attracted responses from nearly 230 independent jewelry store owners across the U.S. and Canada.

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If It’s Time to Consolidate, It’s Time to Call Wilkerson

When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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