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Optimism Rules As Jewelers Enter Holiday Season

The overriding sentiment is one of optimism.

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“AS EXPECTED” was how most of the jewelers in our first 2018 Holiday Season Mini Survey summed up the 10 days since Black Friday.

Given that most of those jewelers entered the season with high hopes it suggests the overriding sentiment remains one of optimism even if the sales action has yet to kick into a high gear.

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Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

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“The mood has been positive and happy,” said Tonia Ulsh, manager of Mountz Jewelers in Camp Hill, PA, adding that while traffic at her store is down from last year, her average ticket at over $500 is up.

>Overall, 21 percent of the more than 120 jewelers who took the survey said the first two weeks of the holiday season had been “better than expected” while 6 percent said it had been “terrific.” Fifteen percent categorized it as disappointing and 5 percent said it had been flat out “dismal.”

“I thought that a longer holiday season would amount to a better period of time for selling, but since Thanksgiving was early this year I think it is making people blow off shopping for the holidays till later,” said Andrea Riso, owner of Talisman Collection in El Dorado Hills, CA. “(But) we’re down so far I’m starting to panic.”

Other jewelers were more sanguine, noting that one of the clearest trends of the last few years has been shoppers coming in later and later to do their jewelry buying.

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“Around here Christmas buying used to start the day after Thanksgiving. Now the serious buying does not start until Dec. 20th,” said Ed Menk, owner of E. L. Menk Jewelers in Brainerd, MN. “The reason? Possibly credit cards allowing the men to hide their purchases from the ladies. Also, there are so many things to attract the consumer such as the never-ending electronics, high priced phones, etc.”

In Muscle Shoals, AL, Joan Charlene Little, of Genesis Jewelry, concurred, predicting the opening trends of the season pointed to a stressful last few days. “Customers are shopping. Snapping photos on their cell phones. The problem is they are going to push it to the last week when everyone will be shopping.”

When customers are reaching for their wallets, it is often for big-ticket items. Almost one in three of the responding jewelers listed diamonds when we asked what had been their best seller so far. Custom followed a close second.

“Average tickets are going up as is traffic. Pandora and Alex & Ani, in particular, are  slowing,” said Steve Floyd, owner of Floyd & Green, in Aiken, SC. “I love having more time to spend with my big spenders!”

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2 Accused of Selling Counterfeit Pandora Jewelry in $2M Fraud Case

They allegedly defrauded e-commerce customers.

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A federal grand jury has indicted two residents of Covina, CA, on a federal conspiracy charge, mail fraud, and trafficking in counterfeit goods.

They’re accused of importing and selling counterfeit Pandora Jewelry and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Xiaoying Xu, age 34, a Chinese citizen, and Yiwen Zhu, age 34, a Chinese citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., allegedly conspired with others to defraud e-commerce customers, obtaining more than $2 million in the scheme.

Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store
Headlines

Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

Video: No, I Won’t Help You Commit Fraud … But Thanks for Throwing Water in My Face
Cullen Wulf

Video: No, I Won’t Help You Commit Fraud … But Thanks for Throwing Water in My Face

Video: When Should a Jeweler Fire Someone?
Jimmy Degroot

Video: When Should a Jeweler Fire Someone?

“These defendants allegedly imported counterfeit goods from China and sold them as legitimate merchandise using the registered trademarks of legitimate companies,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Those who traffic in counterfeit goods are committing a crime which results in American jobs lost, American business profits stolen, and American consumers tricked into receiving substandard products.”

The crimes are alleged to have occurred from about August 2016 until approximately April 2019, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

The indictment alleges that the defendants used their residence and offices in El Monte and Alhambra, CA, as destination points for shipments of counterfeit goods shipped from Hong Kong and China. Xu and Zhu allegedly repackaged the counterfeit goods, then mailed them to unsuspecting customers throughout the U.S.

The defendants allegedly used fraudulent accounts set up with e-commerce marketplace companies to sell the goods, misrepresenting to customers that they were authentic. Xu and Zhu obtained funds from the victims of the counterfeit scheme through fraudulently acquired customer accounts opened in the names of other people at a global online payment company, according to the release.

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The online payment company sent the victims’ money to Xu and Zhu by electronic transfer to bank accounts or by check, which the defendants then cashed at ATMs, the release states. The indictment alleges that the defendants then transferred the proceeds of the scheme from their bank accounts to other bank accounts opened in the names of other Chinese nationals.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and traffic in counterfeit goods; a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of six counts of mail fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of six counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

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News Report Reveals Sordid Details of Alleged Sexual Harassment At Signet

It’s based on interviews with dozens of female former employees.

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A New York Times report reveals salacious details related to allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination within Signet’s Sterling Jewelers business.

The story, titled “The Company That Sells Love to America Had a Dark Secret,” is based on interviews with dozens of female former employees.

Some of the employees described being repeatedly passed over for promotions in favor of men, according to the article by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Others said they’d been sexually harassed.

One woman told the writer that a district manager coerced her into sex in exchange for a transfer she wanted.

A rape accusation is also described.

INSTORE reported in March 2017 that about 250 former employees of Sterling, which operates Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Kay Jewelers and Zales, were alleging that the company culture was rife with sexual discrimination and harassment. The claims were part of an arbitration case that dates to 2008.

Litigation is still ongoing.

In response to the New York Times story, Signet released a statement saying: “We’re disappointed that The New York Times decided to publish an article primarily based on decades-old allegations, and we believe casts our company unfairly. Signet is a recognized leader among companies for gender diversity, with women making up 74 percent of store management positions and full gender parity in both the [senior executive suite] and board of directors. Under the leadership of our CEO Gina Drosos, we are undeterred in our ongoing mission to champion diversity and inclusion as a strategic priority and in our multi-year business transformation plan.”

Read more at The New York Times 

 

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Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

They even stole repair items.

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Burglars cut through the roof of a jewelry store in Laguna Niguel, CA, and took “all items in the store, including repair pieces,” the Jewelers’ Security Alliance reports.

KCAL-TV identfied the business as Nuggets and Carats Jewelry Store.

According to JSA, the burglars “cut through the roof, used a rope to lower themselves in, and cut into the safe.”

They also “removed another safe from the store, which was dragged out a back door into a parking lot.”

The crime took place on the evening of March 23.

JSA states that it has seen a nationwide uptick in the number of reports of burglaries involving rooftop entry or cutting through sidewalls, with some involving cutting alarm wires.

According to KCAL, store owner Brian Hassine said of the safe: “It’s a 6-inch deep safe. It’s got a plate on the outside that needed to be cut with some type of a laser or saw, and they had to cut away at the concrete, and then another plate they had to go through.”

Find out more at KCAL-TV

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