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Swatch Pulls Out of Baselworld

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CEO says watch fairs should ‘reinvent themselves.’

Swatch Group is ceasing its participation in the Baselworld show as of 2019, Forbes reports.

That’s bad news for the show in Switzerland given that Swatch owns 18 brands, from Breguet to Harry Winston to Mido, and has had what Forbes calls a “mammoth” footprint at the show. Watch industry website Hodinkee describes Swatch as “the show’s largest exhibitor.”

Forbes notes that Baselworld has already seen hundreds of exhibitors leave, and that the show was two days shorter 2018 than it was in previous years.

Barbara Palumbo wrote for INSTORE that the 2018 edition “was a little bit shorter and a little bit emptier,” but she noted that it was “no less spectacular (in the traditional sense) than it has always been.”

Forbes quoted Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek saying that annual watch fairs need to “reinvent themselves.”

“The MCH Group, which organizes Baselworld, is clearly more concerned with optimizing and amortizing its new building – which, incidentally, is largely financed by the watch industry during the fairs – than it is in having the courage to make real progress and to bring about true and profound changes,” he said, according to the publication.

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4 Dead After Jewelry-Store Robbery Leads to Police Chase and Shootout (Video)

2 suspects were killed, along with a UPS driver and a bystander.

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A jewelry-story robbery in South Florida led to a police chase and shootout that left four people dead, The Associated Press reports.

Police responded to a silent alarm just after 4 p.m. at Regent Jewelers in Coral Gables. Officers arrived to find shots being fired, with two suspects still on site, according to AP.

The robbers took off in a truck and shortly afterward carjacked a UPS truck, authorities said. A harrowing police chase ensued, continuing for 20 miles and ending at a busy intersection in Miramar.

When police approached the UPS truck, a shootout erupted, leaving the two suspects dead, along with the UPS driver and a person described as an “innocent bystander” in a nearby vehicle, AP reports.

“We have just began to process the crime scene,” FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro was quoted saying. “As you can imagine, this is going to be a very complicated crime scene.”

A jewelry-store employee was reportedly injured, but it’s unknown whether she was shot. It’s also unknown what, if anything, was taken from the store.

Read more at The Associated Press

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Truck Slams Jewelry Store in $200,000 Burglary — Watch the Video

The culprits left the vehicle at the scene.

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Burglars slammed a truck into a jewelry store in Los Altos, CA, and took $200,000 worth of merchandise, police say.

Marcel Jewelry Design was targeted early Monday morning, ABC 7 reports.

The stolen truck rammed the front window of the store three times, finally making it through. The burglars got out and broke jewelry cases with a hammer. They left after less than a minute.

The truck was left at the scene.

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Jewelers Report Bright Start to the 2019 Holiday Season

Thanks to higher average tickets and solid foot traffic.

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INDEPENDENT JEWELERS ACROSS the country reported a strong start to the 2019 holiday season with one in three saying they were ahead of last year’s numbers thanks to higher average tickets and solid foot traffic, especially on Small Business Saturday.

“Customers started shopping earlier, which is a blessing considering the shorter holiday this year,” said Rick Nichols, owner of Nassau Jewelry in Fernandina Beach, FL.

Dennis Petimezas, owner of Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry in Johnstown, PA, said he noticed some caution among early shoppers but they are “bringing in the big-ticket items when they do make a decision.”

More than a third of the jewelers who answered our first 2019 holiday season mini survey reported an average sale that was in excess of $600, while 37 percent said it was up from last year. Only 9 percent of jewelers said their average ticket was down. Diamond fashion jewelry, particularly diamond stud earrings, was selling well.

While only a small portion of jewelers described the start to the vital holiday period as “disappointing” (12%) or “dismal” (2%) few were getting ahead of themselves. Increased competition, especially from big online retailers such as Amazon, means most jewelers are expecting to put in some long shifts over the next four weeks, while offering extra personalized service. Then there are the vagaries of the weather.

“This is my 45th year and it’s always unpredictable,” said Larry W. Hall, owner of Baker & Baker Jewelers in Marietta, OH. “I have ‘jacked up’ my staff on the attention-to-detail factors, i.e., look into the customer’s eyes often and, anyone walking in is greeted in seconds. I am looking at the security camera to see if we I recognize the customer to possibly greet them by name … ‘Hello, Mary and Jim!’ Happy holidays…’ and I offer to clean their jewelry and now our sales staff has a captive audience to sell to.”

The first 2019 Holiday Season Mini survey was taken by more than 100 independent jewelers who are part of our Brain Squad readers group. We will send out more surveys over the course of the holiday season. Look out for the results each Tuesday.

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