After several years that have shown strong industry consolidation, the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) jewelry business tally appears to be leveling off, group chairman Richard Weisenfeld said.
While JBT’s figures for the first quarter of 2019 continue to show that the traditional industry is shrinking, they also show much less consolidation than in previous years.
In the first quarter of 2019, 135 jewelry companies went out of business in North America, broken down into 110 retailers, 14 wholesalers and 11 manufacturers. (Most of these interruptions were in the United States and 10 in Canada.)
That number is down 64% from the first quarter of 2018, when 368 companies abandoned their operations. This is also a marked improvement from the first quarter of 2017, when 334 companies closed.
The JBT also registered 57 new North American companies in the first quarter (all in the United States), down slightly from the number of 62 new companies last year.
It all comes down to a net loss of just 78 jewelry companies for the quarter. This is still evidence of a downward trend, but it is a marked improvement over past years.
“Consolidation numbers have slowed down a bit,” Weisenfeld says, but adds that it remains to be seen whether his tally has really bottomed out.
At the end of the first quarter, JBT had 26,301 listings in North America, including 25,037 in the United States. This is broken down into 19,853 retailers (US number: 18,920), 3,825 wholesalers (US number: 3,619) and 2,623 manufacturers (US number: 2,498).
This means that JBT’s official tally has decreased by 864 companies, or 3.2%, in the past year, a consolidation number roughly equal to previous years.
As JBT itself admits, the group is unable to track every new business entering the industry, and its statistics may not fully reflect two growing segments: small designers and online-only businesses. .
“Frankly, it’s a challenge for us to follow a lot of these people,” Weisenfeld says.
(Image courtesy of the Jewelers Board of Trade)
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