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Know It All: April 2015

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NRF Sees Retail Sales Increasing 4.1% in 2015

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U.S. retail sales will grow 4.1 percent in 2015 as the unemployment rate continues to decline and gasoline prices fall, according to the National Retail Federation. — Bloomberg, 2/15/15


Jeweler Closings Jumped in 2014

2 Jewelry business closings surged last year, with 612 jewelry retailers shutting their doors, up 29.4 percent from the year before, according to JBT data. Of note was the high number of people leaving the business voluntarily as opposed to being forced out by bankruptcy, said JBT president Dione Kenyon. “Either they don’t have successors or they are not willing to reinvest in the business,” she said. — JCK, 3/2/15

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Blue Nile Opening Brick and Mortar Store

3 Blue Nile will test its first standalone store in a “top mall,” CEO Harvey Kanter announced in the wake of soft fourth-quarter results. He said this “webrooming experience” would allow customers who may be hesitant to buy online to see and feel rings, and speak with non-commissioned salespeople. — Seattle Times, 2/12/15


Apple’s 18K tweak

4 Amid the buzz surrounding the unveiling of Apple’s $17,000 smart- watch were reports it’s made of a new 18K alloy. According to its patent application, Apple is combining gold with materials that don’t have much mass, meaning its 18K formula may consist of just 28 percent gold by volume. More at: instr.us/4153. — Slate.com, 3/9/15

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Pandora’s Charm Grows

5 Pandora reported its “strongest quarter ever” in the United States, with revenue jumping 20 percent to about $170 million in the fourth quarter on the back of new-store openings and the launch of its Disney collection. — Financial Times, 2/17/15


Tiffany’s $450m Loss to Swatch Set Aside

6 A Dutch court has set aside an arbitration award of $450 million that Tiffany & Co. was ordered to pay Swatch in 2013 following their failed partnership. The Swiss watchmaker said it would appeal the decision. — Wall Street Journal, 4/3/15

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Mark Levinson, 60, Takes Own Life

7 Florida jeweler Mark Levinson was found dead near his home from an apparent suicide. Levinson, along with his wife, Robin, built one of the country’s best known independent jewelers, on Fort Lauderdale’s ritzy Las Olas Boulevard. — Sun Sentinel, 2/25/15


Grown Diamond Body Targets the “S” Word

8 A group of lab-grown-diamond producers have founded a new trade body, the International Grown Diamond Association, to promote their goods. Among their first tasks: discourage the use of the word “synthetic,” which they believe is technically incorrect and misleading to the consumer. — IDEX Online News, 2/12/15


Federal Judge Slaps Down AmEx Policy

9 A federal judge has ruled that American Express violates antitrust laws with its decade-long policy of prohibiting merchants that accept its cards from advising customers to use credit cards that charge lower fees.. The judge said he would determine a remedy at a later date. — New York Times, 2/25/15


Engagement Rings Back for Second Tour of Duty

10 Couples heading for second marriages are sometimes reusing engagement rings from a first marriage to announce their intended betrothal, according to a Chicago Tribune report. “The reality is that it represented one thing at one time but it doesn’t represent that any more,” jeweler Steven Tapper of Tapper’s Diamonds was quoted as saying. “So why have it sit in a drawer?” — Chicago Tribune, 2/10/15

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 edition of INSTORE.

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Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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