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Know It All: March 2015

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EGL International Goes Rogue

1 The European Gemological Laboratory group insisted in February that it had revoked the license of EGL International and that any reports issued by the Israel-based lab using the EGL name were “counterfeits.” EGL International called the statement “deceitful” and said it would continue to use the name on its certificates and in its branding. — INSTORE, 2/9/15


Jewelry CPI in Rare Double Retreat

2 For the first time in 15 years, price deflation hit all levels of the jewelry distribution chain in 2014, with retailers’ prices falling 3 percent and suppliers’ prices slumping 7 percent, according to government data. While that makes jewelry more affordable for consumers, it makes it harder for jewelers to show sales growth. — IDEX Online, 1/29/15

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Swiss Watch Prices Seen Rising on Franc Volatility

3 The Swiss National Bank’s surprise move to unlock the franc caused the currency to surge as much 40 percent against the euro and the dollar, raising concerns the prices of watch brands such as Rolex, Swatch and TAG Heuer would become much more expensive in overseas markets. — Bloomberg, 1/16/15


Costco Prevails in Gray Market Fight

4 The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has finally brought down the curtain on a decade-long dispute between Omega and Costco, ruling that the big-box discounter can continue to sell cut-price Omegas, because, in effect, they bought them, own them, and can dispose of them how they wish. — Washington Post, 1/21/15

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Fred Meyer May Heat-Map Customers

5 Fred Meyer Jewelers is planning to test heat-mapping technology as a way to count customers and measure how long they spend at individual displays. — The Oregonian, 1/19/15


Tiffany Features Same-Sex Couple in Ad

6 For the first time in its history, Tiffany & Co. featured a same-sex couple in its advertising (as well as another with a child), as it seeks to reposition itself as a thoroughly modern jeweler. — New York Times, 1/13/15

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F. Goldman Buys Scott Kay Assets

7 An affiliate of Frederick Goldman purchased the assets of long-time bridal rival Scott Kay, less than two months after its namesake designer died suddenly at 57. Goldman, owner of the ArtCarved, Keepsake and Diana brands said Scott Kay’s design, sales and marketing would continue to operate as a separate entity. — INSTORE, 2/5/15


U.S. Leads in Employee Theft

8 Employees in the U.S. account for 43 percent of lost revenue each year, $2.3 billion more than shoplifters. That is in contrast to the global trend, where dishonest employees are responsible for about 28 percent of retail inventory losses, according to the annual Global Retail Theft Barometer. — Fortune, 1/30/15


1 in 3 Owners Is Foreign-Born

9 One in three jewelry store owners in the U.S. were born on foreign shores, one of the highest rates for immigrant ownership of any business type, according to a study by Americas Society/Council of the Americas. — INSTORE, 1/20/2015


Pets Feel the Love on Valentine’s Day

10 Pet-owners were estimated to have spent $703 million on Valentine’s Day gifts for their mostly furry friends this year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That works out to $5.28 per animal, considerably less than the $142 that consumers on average spent on their own species. Still … — INSTORE, 2/15/15

This article originally appeared in the March 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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