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Jewelers Temper Their Views on 2017

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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.chart jewelers confidence

U.S. jewelers have become slightly more cautious.

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There are no crystal balls when it comes to sales projections. But when Thomasville, Georgia jeweler Fran Lewis chose Wilkerson to run the retirement/going-out-of-business sale for Lewis Jewelers and More, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that even Wilkerson could one-up its own sales numbers. “Not only did we meet our goal, but we exceeded the goal that Wilkerson had given us by about 134%,” she says. After more than 40 years in the business, Lewis says she decided a few years ago to “move towards retirement.” And she was impressed by Wilkerson’s tenure in the industry. Overall, she’d recommend the company to anyone else who may be thinking it’s time to hang up their loupe. “As a full package, they’ve done a very good job and I’d definitely recommend Wilkerson.”

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