A survey of American jewelers conducted released just two days before Christmas by In-Store magazine showed that 21 percent described the season as better than expected and a further 6 percent said it was “terrific.” Some 33 percent said it had been in line with their forecasts and those generally had been bullish.
At the other end of the scale, the In-Store survey had 22 percent of the jewelers polled describing their store’s performance as disappointing, and 8 percent went as far as calling it “dismal.”
ONLINE SALES OUTSHINES BRICK AND MORTAR
Looking at the U.S. market in general, Mastercard’s post-Christmas holiday report for sales November 1 through December 24 indicated that that holiday retail sales, excluding automobiles, increased by 3.4 percent.
But the news was not particularly good for traditional brick and mortar retailers, and in particular departments stores, where sales fell 1.8 percent.
In contrast, holiday e-commerce sales grew 18.8 percent over the same period in 2018.
“E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” said Steve Sandove, senior advisor for Mastercard.
According to the Mastercard data, the jewelry sector saw 1.8 percent growth in sales, but jewelry sold online during the same period was up by 8.8 percent.
In its report, Mastercard noted that e-commerce sales accounted for almost 15 percent of total retail.
Through December 20, according to Coresight Research, brick and mortar retail in the United States experienced record store closings with more than 9,300 doors being shuttered, up from about 6,000 in 2018. The firm’s head of research believes the trend will continue into 2020.
Tiffany & Co reported that net sales for the 2019 interim holiday period increased between 1 percent and 3 percent.
HIGH-END JEWELER REPORTS DECENT GROWTH
One mainly brick and mortar jeweler that remains buoyant is Tiffany & Co., which already has reported that net sales for the 2019 interim holiday period increased between 1 percent and 3 percent when compared to the same period in 2018.
“During this period, we continued to see the Chinese Mainland drive our overall sales growth with a strong double-digit increase, offset by the persisting declines in the Hong Kong market and, to a lesser degree, Japan – which we believe continues to be negatively impacted by the recent increase in the consumption tax,” stated Alessandro Bogliolo, Tiffany’s CEO. “We are happy to see sales growth in the Americas, a momentum shift in the region.”
According to the high-end jewelry company, which is now part of the LVMH group, net sales rose between 2 percent and 4 percent in the Americas, by 5 percent to 7 percent in the Asia-Pacific regions and 3 percent to 5 percent in Europe.
At of December 24, 2019, Tiffany & Co. operated 327 stores, with 125 in the Americas, 91 in Asia-Pacific, 58 in Japan, 48 in Europe and five in the UAE, versus 321 stores in 2018.