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Jewelers’ Confidence Levels Slip; Biggest Falls in the Storm-Hit South

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It’s the first drop in 3 months.

Independent jewelers moderated their assessment of the short-term outlook for their businesses in October, with the INSTORE Jewelers Confidence Index falling to 52 from 55 in September.

The decline marked the first drop in three months and was most noticeable in the South, where only 28 percent of jewelers said the outlook for their stores had improved in the past month, and 53 percent said they were planning to order less in October than they had in the same month last year. Parts of the South were, of course, hit hard by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in September.

In other parts of the country, conditions look to be shaping up nicely for jewelers as we move toward the key holiday season. Thirty-nine percent of all jewelers surveyed said their sales were Up or Way Up in September compared to the same month in 2016 and most wider economic indicators continue to improve.

Jewelers’ optimism continued to outpace their stock purchases, however, with almost 45 percent of the 220 survey respondents saying they had ordered less jewelry compared to the same month last year even though only 18 percent thought the outlook for their stores had deteriorated. Those two factors – outlook and actual orders – form the basis of our index. A score above 50 implies jewelers are generally positive about the immediate future of their businesses.

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Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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